The Elon University football team is set to play the Great Danes of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany on Saturday.

The game

Coming off a win against No. 6 Richmond last week, the Elon Univesity football team earned a national ranking in the STATS FCS poll. Elon comes in at No. 23 on the list, and its opponent, Albany, comes in at No. 19. 

With both teams in the top 25, it is shaping up to be a good game. 

Junior running back Malcolm Summers has set back-to-back career highs in the past two games. Summers ran for 294 yards in the game against Richmond, the second most all-time in Elon history and the 10th most ever in a Colonial Athletic Association game. 

Read a profile on Summers here.

Summers and freshman quarterback Davis Cheek, who has thrown for 602 yards in the first four games, are going to need to continue their success if Elon has any chance of continuing its winning streak.

If the Phoenix is going to defeat the Great Danes, Elon will have to figure out a way to stop the rush. In last year's matchup, Albany rushed for 288 yards, 210 from sophomore running back Elijah Ibitokun-Hanks. In that game, the Phoenix was held to a mere field goal.

If that game and Malcolm Summer’s year so far are any indication of what is to come this Saturday, we should expect to see a lot of movement on the ground from both teams.

Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m.

Up in the air

But this game almost didn’t happen. 

In March, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced he would ban all nonessential state travel to North Carolina after North Carolina adopted House Bill 2. Cuomo said that the bill, “Creates the grounds for discrimination against LGBT people.”

A ban on state travel includes sports teams from the SUNY schools traveling to North Carolina to compete. 

Even after the repeal of HB2 with HB142 in May, Cuomo said the travel ban would still be in effect. But Albany is contractually obligated to play the game as a football-only member of the CAA.

To appease all parties, Albany will play the game but will do things a little differently. 

“We are flying to Virginia and staying in a hotel there,” said Pete Iorizzo, the assistant athletic director for Media Relations for Albany football. “We're pleased that we're able to honor the spirit of the governor's executive order, and we're excited to play another big game against a nationally ranked opponent.”