By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Winning three games in a row has been a nice accomplishment for the Elon football team. That has led to a national ranking and quite a bit of buzz for the program.
“We’re building some energy, some confidence,” coach Tony Trisciani said. “Let’s win as many as we can. (Being) 1-0 in the CAA is a good place to be.”
The Phoenix holds a No. 23 national ranking in the Football Championship Subdivision going into Saturday afternoon’s game against No. 17 Richmond at Rhodes Stadium.
“You can tell the guys are realizing the potential we have,” Elon linebacker Devonte Chandler said. “We go in (to each game) with the mentality that we can take it.”
Elon (3-1, 1-0 Colonial Athletic Association) is trying to reach a 4-1 record for the first time since 2018. Richmond (3-1, 1-0) tries to avenge last year’s home loss to the Phoenix.
This marks the only game in the country this week involving two FCS-ranked teams. Elon hasn’t been involved in a game with both teams ranked since holding the No. 24 spot in a 45-10 loss to No. 2 James Madison in September 2019.
“Once you get into CAA play, it’s a different deal,” Trisciani said of the stakes.
Elon’s 35-31 road victory Saturday at then-No. 14 William & Mary marked the largest comeback for the Phoenix in its 23 seasons in the Football Championship Subdivision. Elon trailed 28-10 at halftime and 31-16 after three quarters.
“It wasn’t like I wasn’t expecting us to win,” Chandler said. “How we won is what made it big.”
The Phoenix didn’t allow a second-half touchdown. The offense turned drives into points.
And twice when Elon punted in the second half, Jeff Yurk’s boots were downed by teammate Chandler Brayboy at the 1-yard line.
“It’s us just continuing to fight, not giving up,” said running back Jalen Hampton, who has rushed for 304 yards across the past two games. “We just keep going. We don’t quit.”
Linebacker Marcus Hillman of Elon was named the Defensive Player of the Week in the CAA.
He made eight tackles (two for losses) and forced and recovered a fumble.
Chandler is from Chester, Virgina, but he said he tells North Carolinians that he’s from Richmond because his hometown is so close to the state’s capital city.
Despite the proximity, he wasn’t recruited by the Spiders.
So this next game is a notable matchup for him.
“Every year, I love seeing that team on the schedule,” Chandler said. “It’s a little personal.”