North Carolina A&T runs the ball and it does it well. Elon's coaches knew it and its players knew it, but the knowledge did nothing for the Phoenix in their home opener on Sept. 13, as the Aggies run game shredded their defense in a 17-12 A&T win.

Leading the way for the Aggies was sophomore running back Tarik Cohen who passed for A&T's first touchdown on a trick play and later thundered 81-yards down the field to seal the game for the visitors and hand Elon its first loss in a home opener in six years.

"The Cohen kid is a handful,"Elon head football coach Rich Skrosky said after the game. "He's going to give a lot of people headaches this year and the problem defending him is the way the play is designed isn't necessarily what he hits. You just have to have great discipline."

And though Cohen's big game was certainly a big boost for A&T, it was Elon's lack of execution that did it in for the Phoenix. Elon finished the game 3-16 on third downs and managed to drive within the Aggies 11-yard line five times without punching in a touchdown.

"There were more opportunities in this game to actually score, and after the game, we knew the problem was execution right off the bat," Elon senior quarterback Mike Quinn said.

But even so, Elon did have one final shot at the end when it got the ball deep in its own territory with just over two minutes to go. And once again lack of execution killed the Phoenix as Quinn's pass on 4th and 8 dropped incomplete, handing A&T the ball and the win.

But even with the loss, Skrosky was happy with the way his team played on defense, forcing two turnovers, gathering four sacks and holding the Aggies to a 4-15 clip on third downs.

"I thought the game played out about the way I thought it was going to play out," Skrosky said. "I thought it was a well-played game. Overall, we played good enough on defense to win this football game."

Elon 0-2 (0-0) will be back in action at Rhodes Stadium next week when it takes on UNC Charlotte 3-0 (Ind.) on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 7 pm.The game will air on the American Sports Network.

Game Notes

  • Elon QB Mike Quinn reached the 3,000 career passing yards mark, only the 9th person in school history to do so
  • Elon WR Kierre Brown moved into ninth place on the school's career receiving list with 1,447 yards
  • Before his final kick of the game was blocked Elon kicker John Gallagher had made his previous 9 field goals dating back to last season
  • Elon LB Johnathan Spain finished the game with 261 career tackles, moving into fifth place in the category since the school jumped to Division I