By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Give Elon’s football team enough chances and the Phoenix will finally figure it out.
That was the case Saturday afternoon, with No. 14 Elon turning four Towson turnovers into enough points for a 27-10 victory.
“The defense did a great job creating takeaways,” Elon receiver Jackson Parham said. “We capitalized on it.”
The Phoenix (5-1 overall, 3-0 Colonial Athletic Association) scored following two fourth-quarter giveaways from Towson (2-4, 0-3) to seal the outcome to stretch its winning streak to five games.
“You don’t want to let a team hang around like that,” Elon coach Tony Trisciani said. “That’s what it felt like a little bit in the first half. You get takeaways, it’s the response after the takeaway, the response after the turnover that’s critical.”
Linebacker Devonte Chandler forced two fumbles and safety Marcus Hillman forced the other.
“They come in bunches,” Hillman said of collecting the turnovers.
Elon is off to its best six-game record since a 5-1 mark in 2017.
Quarterback Matt McKay threw for 312 years on 19-for-30 passing with two touchdowns and an interception. Parham made seven receptions for 152 yards, picking up clutch first downs with moves after catches and helping compensate for a rushing attack limited to 77 yards.
Elon acted as escape artists for the longest time, largely keeping its defense off the field for stretches by going 9-for-12 on third-down conversions in the first half.
By game’s end, Elon had 73 offensive plays to Towson’s 46.
The Phoenix had its own snags with a couple of turnovers, but still managed a 14-7 halftime edge.
After every Towson turnover, the Phoenix cranked out points.
Skyler Davis broke the Elon record for career field goals by connecting for the 60th time. It came in style with a 51-yarder in the third quarter following a Towson fumble.
The Tigers cut the gap to 17-10 before an Elon punt. On the next snap, Jamir Malone recovered a Towson fumble. The Phoenix turned that into Davis’ 47-yard field goal, bouncing through off the left upright.
Less than a minute later, Elon made the Tigers pay for another turnover. McKay hooked up with Bryson Daughtry on a 31-yard touchdown.
Elon committed two first-half turnovers inside the Towson 25.
The second of those came right before Elon defensive back Jamarian Hawkins, redshirt junior, made his first career interception. That set up the Phoenix for a 41-yard drive, capped with McKay lunging into the end zone on a 5-yard run on third down with five seconds to play in the half.
“Offense responded exactly how we expect them to,” Trisciani said.
The Phoenix drove to the Towson’s 4-yard line on the game’s first possession, but a batted pass on third down was intercepted in the end zone by Ryan Kearney.
On its second possession, Towson went 80 yards in seven plays to score on Da’Kendall James’ diving catch in the end zone to complete a 26-yard play.
Elon scored on McKay’s 1-yard flip to tight end Johncarlos Miller in the second quarter for its first points.
EXTRA POINTS: Elon defensive end Torrence Williams, a Williams High School alum, wasn’t in uniform stemming from an injury a week earlier vs. Richmond. … CAA commissioner Joe D’Antonio attended the game.