ELON, N.C. - The Elon University football team carried a four-touchdown lead into the half and never looked back on Saturday afternoon, Sept. 15, as the Phoenix throttled the visiting West Virginia State Yellow Jackets, 48-14, at Rhodes Stadium.
Senior quarterback Thomas Wilson completed 18-of-25 passes for 261 yards and four touchdowns, two of which were snared by senior receiver Aaron Mellette. Wilson surpassed 4,000 career passing yards for his career with his performance. Including the two scores, Mellette finished the game with nine grabs for 129 yards and moved past 3,000 career receiving yards. Mellette now has 16 100-yard receiving games in his career, while Wilson's 200-yard passing game is the 12th of his career.
The maroon and gold finished with 571 yards of total offense, including 301 yards on the ground. Thuc Phan led all players with 110 rushing yards on 15 carries, while Karl Bostick carried the ball 12 times for 77 yards.
Filling in for head coach Jason Swepson, who was hospitalized with chest pains on Friday, defensive coordinator Ed Pinkham said, "We're happy to get out with a win today. I thought our offensive line really played well today. They took over in the second half and we were able to run the ball fairly well and they ate up a lot of the clock as a result."
Elon (2-1) was nearly perfect in the red zone in the win, converting 6-of-7 chances into scores. Kenton Beal punted just once in the game for the Phoenix.
Elon's 48 points are the most scored by the Phoenix since a 49-35 decision over 20th-ranked Chattanooga on Oct. 30, 2010.
After forcing a punt by the Yellow Jackets, Elon began its first possession of the game at its own 47-yard line and promptly marched 53 yards for a touchdown. The score came when Wilson threw to Rasaun Rorie who stiff-armed Jabril Pearsons and got in from 17 yards out with 12:08 showing on the first quarter clock.
Late in the first quarter, Bostick burst through the line and raced 43 yards for his second touchdown in as many weeks as the maroon and gold extended its lead to 14-0. The drive covered 67 yards in just five play.
The Phoenix onslaught continued in the second quarter. The second play of the period was a 19-yard screen pass from Wilson to Tracey Coppedge that carried the ball to the WVSU 37, but a roughing the passer penalty moved the ball to the 22-yard line. Two plays later, Wilson lofted a ball to the back corner of the end zone where Mellette was waiting to complete the 20-yard score to make it 21-0. The grab moved Mellette past 3,000 career receiving yards as he became just the third Elon player, and the eighth ever in the Southern Conference, to ever accomplish that feat.
The next Elon drive was capped off by a 17-yard TD pass from Wilson to Chris Harris and the Phoenix led 28-0 with 8:40 to play in the first half. It was the first career score for Harris and just the second catch of his career.
Mellette caught his second touchdown pass of the game late in the first half and the Phoenix took a 35-0 lead into the break.
West Virginia State (1-2) got on the board with just 41 seconds remaining in the first half when LeFloyd Phillps broke a 70-yard run.
Elon's first possession of the second half resulted in a 31-yard field goal from Adam Shreiner, the 37th career field goal for the senior who now sits alone in second place in school history as the Phoenix built a 38-7 edge.
The Phoenix will begin Southern Conference play next Saturday when it visits Statesboro, Ga. for a 6 p.m. game against Georgia Southern.