BOILING SPRINGS, N.C. – The 24th-ranked Elon University football team could not overcome 35 unanswered second-half points as the Phoenix suffered a 42-20 setback at Gardner-Webb on Saturday, Feb. 27, at Ernest W. Spangler Stadium.
The Phoenix fell to 1-1 on the year while Gardner-Webb moved to 1-0 in its first contest this spring.
The Phoenix got off to a fast start in the opening quarter, scoring 17 points and forcing a pair of turnovers. Elon’s Joey Baughman scored a touchdown on a one-yard quarterback sneak at the 7:03 mark to put the Phoenix on the board in the first. The Phoenix then got the ball back for its offense after Jalen Greene intercepted GWU at the Runnin’ Bulldogs’ 27-yard line, leading to a 25-yard field goal from Skylar Davis to put Elon up 10-0.
Elon then added its second interception of the first period as Omar Rogers stepped in front of a Carlton Aiken pass at the Elon 22-yard line and returned it back to GWU’s 22-yard line at the 2:16 mark. Four plays later, Bryson Daughtry scored off a 12-yard sweep to put Elon up 17-0 to close out the first.
In the second quarter, Aiken answered with a one-yard touchdown run at the 10:03 mark to put the Runnin’ Bulldogs on the scoreboard. Elon however intercepted Aiken for a third time in the opening half as Dylan Tucker picked him off at the Elon 11 to stop Gardner-Webb’s drive deep into Phoenix territory with 4:48 left in the quarter. Davis added his second field goal of the game to close out the period as Elon went into intermission ahead 20-7.
Gardner-Webb came out of the second to cut into the Phoenix’s lead. GWU’s Dexter Brown scored on a two-yard rush at the 4:55 mark in the third, trimming Elon’s advantage to 20-14. A Phoenix fumble on the next drive gave the ball back to the Runnin’ Bulldogs, who proceeded to take the lead on a 23-yard run by Aiken to move ahead 21-20 with 3:30 left in the third.
The Runnin’ Bulldogs closed out the third with a punt return for a touchdown to enhance its advantage to 28-20. Gardner-Webb added two more scores in the final period as Elon could not respond and fell to GWU 42-20.
• Elon ended the game with 298 total yards at 4.5 yards per play. The Phoenix also scored 13 total points off GWU’s turnovers.
• Baughman passed 13-for-21 for 130 yards and also led the Phoenix on the ground with 47 yards on 10 carries.
• Donovan Williams caught six passes for 65 yards to lead the Phoenix receiving group.
• Defensively, Rogers had 10 total tackles to pace the Phoenix along with his interception. Torrence Williams and McAllister Ingram both were credited with a half sack.
Elon welcomes No. 2 James Madison to Rhodes Stadium on Saturday, March 6. That game is scheduled for a 1:30 p.m. kickoff.