TOWSON, Md. — Another Saturday of opportunities squandered led to the Elon University football team dropping its fifth straight game, this one a 23-6 defeat at Towson University Saturday afternoon in Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) action.
The Phoenix had three drives reach inside the Towson 10-yard line, but none of the three resulted in touchdowns, including a fumble at the 1-yard line that Towson recovered.
“I think this one went similar to our previous several,” said head coach Rich Skrosky. “We’re in it at times, we’re close enough, we get a couple of drives going. The fumble going in, that’s going to be hard to overcome. We were within reaching point for a long time, and that’s when it’s similar to weeks past. Just too many mistakes at the end of the day to overcome and get a win.”
The Tigers came out rolling in the first quarter, outgaining Elon 159 yards to seven on 21 plays compared to seven. Towson put 10 points on the board after a 46-yard field goal by freshman kicker Aidan O’Neill and a 24-yard touchdown pass from redshirt sophomore quarterback Morgan Mahalak to senior wide receiver Christian Summers.
Skrosky said that the slow start was the most disappointing part of the otherwise good day for the defense, which junior defensive back Chris Blair agreed with.
“The first drive tells a lot," Blair said. "They came out hard and we didn’t come out prepared or hard enough. That’s the really the difference, the opening drives we give up each and every week.”
Elon was able to produce one quality drive in the first half, going from its own 20 down to the Towson 7-yard line. Elon ran a play for a touchdown when sophomore quarterback Daniel Thompson hit redshirt freshman Josh Ramseur in the endzone, but the play was called back for pass interference on sophomore wide receiver Corey Joyner, which Skrosky said was the “right call.”
Elon’s senior kicker John Gallagher then hit a 39-yard field goal to put the Phoenix on the board. O’Neill added a field goal back for Towson just before the half to make it 13-3 at the break.
The Phoenix came out hot after the half, with freshman running back De’Sean McNair bursting through for a 42-yard run to move Elon just outside the endzone. But on first and goal from the one, McNair fumbled the ball on a dive, and the Tigers recovered, stalling the drive.
Elon did get back to first and goal at the 10, but a holding penalty pushed Elon back, leading to a Gallagher 38-yard field goal. The Phoenix would not score again, as its offense suffered from what Skrosky believes is a lack of faith in itself.
“I think there’s an old saying, ‘What comes first, success or confidence?’ If you don’t have success, can you get that confidence? We’ll continue to talk about it, but that takes a lot of mental toughness, to eliminate a fumble in the endzone and come back and say, ‘Okay, we’re going to take this drive and go 70 yards.’
“No question there’s a confidence issue, and I think there has been — that isn’t new today. We moved the ball more effectively at times, but we have to be able to finish drives without the penalties and without turnovers.”
Towson added another touchdown and a field goal in the fourth quarter to seal the game. The Phoenix committed three turnovers on the final four plays, with Thompson throwing two interceptions. He finished the day 18-for-25 for 130 yards.
The Phoenix falls to 2-7 overall and 1-5 in the CAA. Elon’s final home game of the season is at 1:30 p.m. next Saturday against the University of Rhode Island.