Elon University redshirt freshman quarterback Connor Christiansen scrambled into the end zone from two yards out as time expired to notch a 6-3 victory for the Maroon team at Saturday's Spring Game.
But the play nearly didn’t get off in time.
“When I was running up to the line, I peaked back [at the clock]” Christiansen said. “There were four seconds left, the ball was not even down yet and some of the lineman are still shifting. I remembered seeing Matthew Stafford do [the fake spike] about two years ago.”
Christiansen finished the night with 12 completions on 24 attempts, throwing for 125 yards with one interception. He also rushed 10 times for 18 yards, including the lone touchdown of the game.
For the White team, freshman quarterback Daniel Thompson threw 7-for-20 for 101 yards. The longest plays of the day were his 33-yard completion to freshman Josh Ramseur on the opening drive of the second quarter and a 28-yard completion to junior tight end Zach Duprey later in the second quarter.
In the second quarter, junior kicker John Gallagher nailed a 32 yard field goal from the right hashmark to give the White team its only points of the day. Gallagher was 1-for-2 on field goal attempts, missing from 37 yards at the end of the first quarter.
Elon head coach Rich Skrosky said the lack of players he had for the spring practices made it difficult to manage the Spring Game.
“Our numbers aren’t where they need to be [on the offensive line],” Skrosky said, “So we had them be neutral and not play for any one team. And we played every player, which doesn’t give us a rhythm or a consistency.”
The game was a defensive struggle throughout, as the Maroon defense held the White offense to 87 total yards, nine of which came in the first quarter. Maroon’s defense had six sacks, including a game-high two sacks from junior defensive tackle Dominic Bourne.
“The defense was working hard all spring and we really came together as a unit,” Bourne said. “We played with a lot of intensity and we take pride in holding the offense to as little as possible.”
Senior linebacker Alexander Dawson led all players with 7.5 tackles for the White team, including a fourth down sack with less than three minutes remaining in the game.
Senior Julius Moore, who played for the White team, had the lone turnover of the game after intercepting Christiansen off of a deflection from sophomore Chris Blair early in the second quarter. By the end of the game, the White defense surrendered 197 yards to the Maroon offense.
The longest rushing play of the game for Elon came in the first quarter, when senior running back Tracey Coppedge broke through a hole on the right side and scampered 32 yards for the Maroon team. He finished the day with 10 carries for 57 yards. For White, junior B.J. Bennett was the leading rusher, getting 8 carries for 19 yards.
After watching his players' efforts in the Spring Game and the practices leading up to it, Skrosky is pleased with his team’s improvements in the fundamentals of football.
“There were things that happened during the course of the spring that, when you put the tape on at night after practice, you said, ‘Hey, that drill is showing up,'" Skrosky said. "So that’s a sign that we are honing in on our fundamentals.”
Elon will begin its regular season Sept. 3 on the road as it travels to Winston-Salem to take on the Wake Forest Demon Deacons.