Williamsburg, Va. (Tribe Athletics) – The eighth-ranked William & Mary football team fell to Elon, 27-10, in both teams’ conference opener at Zable Stadium on Saturday evening.
Although W&M (2-2, 0-1) outgained the Phoenix (2-2, 1-0) by nearly 100 yards – 335-236 – it was unable to overcome an early 17-0 deficit.
Elon capitalized on a pair of special teams miscues by the Tribe en route to building the early lead, as all three of its first half scoring drives combined to cover just 46 yards.
In addition to holding Elon to just 236 total yards, W&M’s defense limited Elon to just 96 passing yards and 5 of 15 on third down. However, the Phoenix scored on all four trips into the red zone, while the Tribe failed to come up with any points on its lone trip inside Elon’s 20-yard line and committed three turnovers.
Junior wide receiver DeVonte Dedmon led the Tribe offensively with four catches for 93 yards, which was highlighted by a 77-yard touchdown reception early in the third quarter.
Two of Elon’s first three scoring drives combined to cover a total of just 10 yards and came following Tribe miscues on punts. A 35-yard field goal by John Gallagher with 12:44 showing in the first quarter was set up by a blocked punt, while Cole Taylor hauled in a 5-yard touchdown pass from Daniel Thompson midway through the second quarter that came after a botched snap gave Elon starting field position at W&M’s 6-yard line.
The Phoenix’s other early score came on a 21-yard touchdown run by Malcolm Summers early in the second quarter, which capped off a short three-play, 36-yard drive.
A 43-yard field goal by junior Nick Dorka with 0:15 remaining in the second quarter was W&M’s lone score in the first half.
Despite trailing 17-3 at the break, W&M’s defense held Elon to just two first downs and 73 total yards during the opening 30 minutes. Additionally, it dominated the time of possession (21:06-8:54).
Things looked good for the Tribe early the third quarter, as senior quarterback Steve Cluley connected with Dedmon on a 77-yard touchdown strike on W&M’s first offensive play of the half to narrow the margin to 17-10.
However, the big play was the Tribe’s lone score of the second half as Elon pulled away for the conference-opening victory.
Senior linebacker Stephen Lubnow and redshirt freshman linebacker Nate Atkins led the Tribe defensively with seven tackles apiece, while senior cornerback Trey Reed recorded an interception and a TFL.
Summers led the Elon with 120 rushing yards on 26 carries with two touchdowns.
The Tribe will return to action when it travels to New Hampshire next Saturday at 3:30 p.m.