Monday, May 20, 2024

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Elon needs rapid reversal in CAA; next up: Delaware in Rhodes Stadium

By Bob Sutton

Special to The Alamance News

It’s time for Elon’s football team to turn it around before it’s too late.

The Phoenix might need to win its final three games of the regular season to land a spot in the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs.

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For coach Tony Trisciani, the priority is getting it done this week against visiting Delaware.

“We’re frustrated, but we’re not discouraged,” he said. “We’ve lost two football games, but let’s get better and win one this week.”

While Elon (5-3, 3-2 Colonial Athletic Association) has dropped out of the national rankings, Delaware (6-1, 3-1) will arrive at No. 12.

Since last playing at Rhodes Stadium, the Phoenix fell to ranked opponents Rhode Island and New Hampshire.

“It happens. We don’t want it to happen often,” strong safety Omar Rogers said. “We just have to get back to what we do. Just lock in, just one snap at a time.”

Glitches have developed on offense and defense, but nothing that can’t be repaired.
“We’ve got some kinks we have to work out,” receiver Jordan Bonner said. “We have a pretty good team as long as we keep working.”

Elon’s defense was dented in the 40-22 loss to New Hampshire. That was more points allowed than the two previous games combined.

“Our mantra is just having that juice” Rogers said. “I feel like when we’re doing our job, we have that juice. Got to keep the juices flowing.”

The mindset remains positive from the players’ accounts. The Delaware game could be the last chance for Elon to defeat another team with a winning record, so it’s a critical matchup for Elon’s postseason aspirations.

“Losing is never an option for us,” Bonner said. “We don’t think about losing. We always think about winning.”

Elon was without receiver Jackson Parham, who has a team-leading 34 catches, because of an injury, and his status might be iffy for this week. Bonner, a transfer from Purdue, stepped in to make four catches for 90 yards.

“He has played a lot of football for us the last two years,” Trisciani said. “He’s a real physical kid. He has earned those opportunities by all the blocks he has made – last year and this year.”

Bonner said he wants to contribute, and last week’s game presented a different avenue to do so.“It didn’t feel any different to me,” he said. “It was another to me. An opportunity and I took it.”

The Phoenix is bound to need as much firepower as possible Saturday. Delaware rates among the top defenses in the FCS.

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