Almost five minutes into the game, Blue Hens quarterback Nolan Henderson threw his 20th touchdown pass of the season, putting Delaware quickly up 7-0. However, the Phoenix defensive group did not panic and allowed zero points on Delaware’s final seven possessions. Head coach Tony Trisciani said better effort in tackling was the key to the turnaround.
“We missed some tackles out there. But we were flying around and if one guy missed it, there were 10 more guys running to the ball,” Trisciani said.
This game brought more than just great defense — it brought milestones, as senior kicker Skyler Davis broke two different records. The first was a 53-yard field goal to break Elon’s all-time distance record. That kick also gave Davis 317 points for his career, which broke the Elon record for career points scored. The mark was previously held by Terrell Hudgins ’09.
Davis said he wanted to break these records, and when he was running on the field, he knew it was his time.
“When I was running on that field, I was like, alright, this is the opportunity. I've got to make this one count,” Davis said.
Elon was able to convert third down after third down, going 12 for 17 on the day on offense, compared to Delaware’s five of 12. This helped the Phoenix keep the ball, and more importantly, manage the clock, possessing the ball for 37 minutes compared to Delaware's 23.
Elon’s running game carried the team’s offense. Redshirt freshman running back Jalen Hampton led the way for the Phoenix, netting 136 yards on 32 carries. Elon ran for 179 yards, compared to Delaware’s 19.
“We were playing hard and getting off the ball up front,” Trisciani said. “We felt like we could play on their side of the line of scrimmage with violent hands."
The field goal helped propel Elon to the win and take the Phoenix one step closer to its goal of making the FCS playoffs. Trisciani said the win over Delaware plays a big part in getting to that point.
“Keeping our goal of being a playoff football team going was important.” Trisciani said.
Coming off losses the last two weeks against the University of Rhode Island and University of New Hampshire, Trisciani said Elon played better in all areas against Delaware
“We got it right today. We were able to sustain drives, convert on third down, win in the red zone and do a great job on special teams,” Trisciani said. “Our defensive staff did a great job preparing our guys. We had some that really stepped up this week.”
Elon will play the University at Albany on Nov. 5 in the team’s final regular season home game. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. as Elon looks to keep its playoff chances alive. The game takes place on Homecoming Weekend.