By Bob Sutton
Special to The Alamance News
Elon’s football team is gearing up for yet another championship-type of weekend.
The Phoenix handed then-No. 5 Delaware its first Coastal Athletic Association loss of the season Saturday, so now the stakes seem even higher.
“When we were preparing for Delaware, we knew this was an opportunity for us to compete with the top team in the CAA and keep us in the mix for a CAA championship,” Elon coach Tony Trisciani said. “There’s plenty of motivation for our football team this week. We don’t need to get ahead of ourself.”
Elon (5-4 overall, 5-1 CAA) is in a five-way tie for first place with Delaware, Richmond, Albany and Villanova with two games remaining.
Elon visits Richmond on Saturday afternoon and then has the regular-season finale November 18 against Hampton at home.
“We’re thrilled to be where we are right now, in the hunt for a conference championship or a playoff berth,” Trisciani said.
The Phoenix topped host Delaware 33-27, with Matthew Downing throwing three touchdown passes.
Jack Berkowitz kicked field goals from 36, 42, 37 and 44 yards. He was named the CAA Special Teams Player of the Week.
Downing’s 70-yard touchdown play to tight end Johncarlos Miller II in the second quarter helped Elon to a 17-13 lead and the Phoenix led the rest of the way.
Downing, who was 17-for-35 for 352 yards, had an earlier 65-yard touchdown hook-up with Chandler Brayboy and he threw for a 29-yard score to Jordan Bonner in the third quarter. Brayboy had 121 yards on three catches and Miller racked up 101 yards on five receptions.
Delaware (7-2, 5-1) moved into Elon territory on its final possession, but linebacker Marco Patierno’s fumble recovery at the Phoenix 12-yard line with 1:33 remaining sealed the outcome.
This week, the trip to Richmond (6-3, 5-1) looms large. Elon beat the Spiders 30-27 in double overtime last year at home.