Following a week one blowout loss to Duke and a defeat at the hands of North Carolina A&T last weekend, Elon fans found themselves getting antsy over when first-year head coach Rich Skrosky would get his first win with the Phoenix. But following a clutch performance Saturday night against the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, Phoenix fans left Rhodes Stadium satisfied as Elon scored late to secure a 20-13 victory.
With the win, the Phoenix improve to 1-2 on the year, and though Skrosky claimed that he didn't feel a weight lifted off of his shoulders.
"I think the validation for the players is bigger than how I feel right now," Skrosky said of his first victory. "I can't tell you how elated I am for them. This was by far the best week of prep we've had of the three weeks. And they needed the validation."
Senior Linebacker Odell Benton agreed, saying it was a night he would never forget.
"That's probably one of the best moments of my whole career, to tell you the truth," Benton said. "To see all 80-some odd guys running onto the field and seeing the happiness in everybody's face. That was just a really, really great feeling. I'll never forget it. It was beautiful."
With the game tied at 13 apiece, Elon got the ball on its own 37-yard line with 8:30 to play. The Phoenix used a series of quick passes and short runs to march 63 yards on 12 plays, concluding on a three-yard touchdown pass from Mike Quinn to Kierre Brown that gave Elon the lead for good with 3:57 to go.
Following the touchdown, Elon's defense was forced to make two huge stops--one on an interception by Benton with 2:51 left in the game and one a 49ers' touchdown called back as time expired due to multiple Charlotte penalties on the play.
"We wouldn't want it any other way," Benton said. "As a defense we told each other, 'The offense is going to go down and score and then we have to stop them.' And that was point blank, period. When it came down to it, everybody just did their job."
Elon is back in action next Saturday when it heads down to Conway, South Carolina where it will play No. 5 Coastal Carolina (3-0) at 7 p.m.