Four games into the season, Elon University's football team averaged 25.5 points per game. Saturday, the Phoenix only scored six.
But a win is still a win.
Two field goals by kicker Owen Johnson — of 23-yards and 27-yards — were enough to lift the Phoenix to a 6-0 victory against the University of Albany. It's the first time Elon (4-1, 2-0 CAA) has rattled off four consecutive wins since 2010. And it's the Phoenix's best start to a season in eight years. But this string of success wasn't surprising for Elon, who was picked to finish 11th in the Colonial Athletic Association poll.
Internally, the Phoenix expected this.
"It's been a longtime coming, "said running back Malcolm Summers, who rushed for 171 yards. "We've been in the dark so long. We knew we had it in us and now the pieces are starting to come together."
A stringent Elon defense recorded four sacks and four turnovers while only allowing the Great Danes to rush for 76 yards and pass for 114. But toward the end of the game, that was in jeopardy. Albany marched 49 yards to Elon's 26-yard line with just over a minute left in the game. But with two seconds left, Albany quarterback Neven Sussman's pass fell incomplete to Jerrod Diggs. It's the first time Elon held an opponent scoreless since 2009.
"If they don't score they can't win," said defensive end Nick Groll, who had one sack. "We just had to shut out the second half and we knew if they don't score, they couldn't win."
Junior running back Malcolm Summers continued his hot streak, rushing for 171 yards off 39 carries. Last season, he carried the ball 108 times. He's already carried the ball 109 times this year. But the early wear and tear isn't affecting Summers. To him, "it's all about the mindset."
"I don't really worry about the carries," Summers said. "I don't really worry about the yards or the stats. I just worry about winning the game."
The Phoenix will play William and Mary next Saturday at Rhodes Stadium for Family weekend.