RICHMOND, Va. – Justin Allen threw for a career-best 198 passing yards in his second career start, but the Elon University football team was unable to earn the road victory over No. 20 Richmond, as the Phoenix (1-5, 0-4 CAA Football) fell to the Spiders (3-0, 3-0), 31-17, on Saturday, March 27, at Robins Stadium.
Allen finished the game with the Phoenix’s highest passing total of the season on 19-for-32 passing and a touchdown as the Leesburg, Va., native went the distance behind center. Overall, Elon had 213 total yards in the air.
Five different Elon receivers caught at least one pass with Bryson Daughtry leading the way with his career-best nine grabs for 56 yards. Jackson Parham added four catches for 74 yards while Chandler Brayboy also caught four passes for 61 yards and his first career touchdown.
Junior Cole Coleman led the Phoenix defense with 12 tackles, with six solo stops. Tre’Von Jones made eight tackles with a forced fumble while Marcus Hillman made the lone sack of the game for the Phoenix.
Richmond took just four plays on its opening drive to score the first points of the game. The Spiders’ Aaron Dykes caught a 38-yard touchdown pass from Joe Manscuso to put Richmond ahead 7-0 at the 10:29 mark.
The Spiders added seven addition points in the opening quarter as Savon Smith ran 44 yards to the end zone at the 7:29 mark to give Richmond a 14-0 advantage.
The Phoenix answered as Allen delivered a 40-yard touchdown pass to Brayboy. That culminated an eight-play, 76-yard drive to cut Richmond’s lead to 14-7 with 40 seconds left in the first.
Dykes added his second touchdown of the half in the second quarter, finishing off a 10-play, 81-yard drive with a five-yard run to extend Richmond’s advantage back to 14, 21-7, at the 7:35 mark.
With 36 seconds remaining in the opening half, Richmond added three more points on a Jake Laron 37-yard field goal. That took the Spiders into intermission with a 24-7 lead over the maroon and gold.
In the third quarter, the Phoenix took advantage of a Richmond fumble to narrow its deficit. Jones forced a Jasiah Williams fumble that was recovered by Omar Rogers to give the Phoenix the ball at its own 32-yard line with 7:06 left in the period. Elon capitalized on the takeaway with a 11-play, 68-yard drive which was capped off with a Jaylan Thomas one-yard run to close the gap to 24-14.
Richmond came back with its own lengthy drive on its next possession. The Spiders drained nearly eight minutes off the clock before finishing a 13-play, 75-yard drive on a four-yard touchdown pass from Mancuso to Isaac Brown at the 8:42 mark in the fourth quarter to move their lead back to 17, 31-14.
On the very next possession for the Phoenix, Elon overcame a pair of incompletions and a quarterback sack to convert on 4th-and 17 on a fake punt. Torrence Williams took the direct snap 29 yards to keep the ball in the Phoenix’s possession before the maroon and gold added another big play on a 42-yard catch and run from Parham that took Elon down to Richmond’s one-yard line. The Phoenix could not punch it in for six, settling for a 26-yard field goal from Skyler Davis with 4:46 left in the contest that made the score 31-17.
Richmond kept possession of the ball for the remainder of the game to move on to its second win of the season over the Phoenix.
Elon hosts William & Mary for its final home game of the 2021 spring season next Saturday, April 3. That game is set for a 4 p.m. kickoff at Rhodes Stadium.