ELON, N.C. - The Elon University football won its 2012 home opener on Saturday night, Sept. 10 at Rhodes Stadium, as the Phoenix claimed a 34-14 victory over the visiting North Carolina Central Eagles on Hall of Fame Weekend.
Senior quarterback Thomas Wilson completed 13-of-18 passes for 178 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the win, as the Phoenix offense went for 229 yards.
The maroon and gold defense stifled the Eagles all night long, limiting Central to just 110 total yards, including just 39 in the first half. The maroon and gold also picked off three passes and recovered a fumble.
"I am very pleased with the victory," said Elon head coach Jason Swepson. We had a tremendous week of practice. In the first half, we played inspired football. We sustained some long drives that resulted in touchdowns. And then the defense created some turnovers. If that's a sign of things to come here in the future then I am really excited."
The Phoenix marched 80 yards in 5:25 on its opening drive before Wilson hit Aaron Mellette for a nine-yard touchdown strike to give the maroon and gold an early lead. Adam Shreiner's extra point put Elon on top 7-0 with 8:22 showing on the first-quarter clock. The Phoenix faced third-and-six at its own 24 when Wilson drilled Jeremy Peterson over the middle for a 35-yard gain to sustain that drive.
The Elon offense kept the pressure on during its next drive, building a 14-0 lead after Tracey Coppedge burst through the line for a 10-yard dash, the first touchdown of the freshman's career. The drive covered 62 yards on 11 plays. The Phoenix faced two third downs during the possession and converted both a third-and-six with a 21-yard pass from Wilson to Mellette and a third-and-11 with a 13-yard completion to Andre Davis that moved the Phoenix to the Central 10.
On the final play of the first quarter, Elon's David Wood snared the first interception of his career and returned the ball 29 yards to the Central nine. Elon would tack on three points with a Shreiner field goal from 28 yards out to go up 17-0.
With the Phoenix up 24-0 after a Karl Bostick TD run, the Eagles got on the board with 1:47 left to go in the second quarter when Andre Clarke punched it in from the one.
A 35-yard strike from Wilson to Kierre Brown with just 10 seconds left in the first half gave Elon a 31-7 edge at the break.
Elon's final points came on a 21-yard Shreiner field goal in the third quarter while Central tacked on a touchdown when Geovonie Irvine hauled in a pass from Jordan Reid in the fourth.
The Phoenix returns to Rhodes Stadium next Saturday to take on West Virginia State in a 3 p.m. contest.
Elon/WFMY News 2 Sports