SPARTANBURG, S.C. (Wofford College) – The Wofford defense stopped Elon on fourth-and-goal with four seconds left to come away with a 31-27 win at Gibbs Stadium. The Phoenix scored 17 points in the first quarter, but Wofford came back to tie the game at 24 in the fourth quarter. A 66-yard touchdown pass to Will Gay gave Wofford the lead and the defense held the Phoenix out of the end-zone for the victory.
The Terriers move to 4-2 and 3-0 in the Southern Conference. Elon is 2-5 overall and 1-2 in the SoCon. Wofford was led by Jonny Martin with 114 rushing yards and two touchdowns. James Lawson was 10-of-14 passing for 151 yards. The defense had 15 tackles from Alvin Scioneaux and 13 tackles by Mike McCrimon. Elon was led by quarterback Mike Quinn, who was 37-of 54 passing for 285 yards and two touchdowns.
“We did not play well in the first half,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “They structured the defense a little different than we thought they would and it takes a little bit of time to get up to speed on the plays to call. Defensively they were slicing and dicing us on the first series and they had a great game plan. We got down. The bad thing was we did not get down just one score, we got way down. We finished the first half and we came in and instead of ranting and raving we decided what we needed to do and gave it to the kids. We came out and we executed. We found some things that helped us. Our kids ran hard and blocked well. We created some space and Jonny Martin had a great game. Will Gay had a great game. It was tough, but I believe this game is going to help us down the line. The defense played all the way through and our defensive staff has done an unbelievable job this year. They got our guys ready. James Zotto did not play, but Josh Davis did a great job filling in. Elon is very well coached and the staff knows what they are doing.”
The Phoenix had the ball to open the game and quickly moved down the field and scored on a one-yard touchdown run by Mike Quinn for a 7-0 lead at the 11:28 mark of the first quarter. Wofford went three-and-out and punted on their first drive. Elon had two first downs, then on fourth-and-eight picked up the first down on a pass interference call. The Phoenix ended the drive with a 33-yard field goal to take a 10-0 lead with 5:48 on the clock in the first half.
On the next drive for Wofford, Evan Jacks fumbled on the first play and it was recovered by Corey Mitchell of Elon at the 25-yard line. The Phoenix took advantage of the turnover and scored on a ten-yard touchdown reception for a 17-0 lead with 3:34 left in the first quarter. The Terriers and Elon then both went three-and-out and punted.
Wofford went three-and-out and punted to end the first quarter. After again trading three-and-outs, Wofford had the ball back with 9:21 left in the second quarter. James Lawson was intercepted by David Wood at the 37-yard line. Elon gained one first down before punting. Wofford used a 29-yard run by Will Gay to set-up a 9-yard touchdown run by Jonny Martin for a 17-7 score with 3:20 left in the first half. Elon drove down the first and scored on a 12-yard reception by Doug Warrick with 38 seconds on the clock.
To open the second half, Wofford went on a nine-play drive that covered 75 yards and was capped by a five-yard run by Jonny Martin. The score was 24-14 in favor of Elon at the 12:31 mark in the third quarter. The Phoenix went three-and-out and punted on their next possession. Wofford had two first downs and then converted a fourth-and-one, but were limited to a 27-yard field goal by Kasey Redfern to make it a 24-17 game with 6:48 left in the third quarter.
Elon gained two first downs before punting back to the Terriers. Wofford started at the 11-yard line and ended with a 23-yard touchdown run by Octavius Harden to tie the game at 24 with 12:22 left in the fourth quarter. Both teams then went three-and-out and punted. Elon took over with 10:47 on the clock and regained the lead with a 25-yard field goal by John Gallagher for a 27-24 score with 6:35 remaining.
On the second play on the next drive by the Terriers, James Lawson found a wide open Will Gay for a 66-yard touchdown reception to give Wofford a 31-27 lead with 5:55 left in the fourth quarter. Elon was had four first downs and moved to the 32-yard line. With 1:34 on the clock, Elon converted a fourth-and-eight with a ten-yard pass. A fifteen-yard completion gave the Phoenix first-and-goal from the five with 1:10 remaining. After runs of two yards, no gain, and one yard, it was fourth-and-goal from the one. Elon called timeout with four seconds left. On the final play of the game, B.J. Bennett was stopped for no gain by Bernard Williams and Travis Thomas to seal the win for the Terriers.
Wofford had 400 total yards, with 249 on the ground. Elon had 408 total yards, 285 of which were passing. Wofford had 20 first downs, while Elon had 26. Wofford was 5-of-14 on third downs and 3-of-3 on fourth downs. Elon was 5-of-19 on third down and 3-of-4 on fourth downs. Elon had five penalties, while Wofford had four. Elon had a 34:24 to 25:36 time of possession advantage.
Wofford vs. Elon Post-Game Notes
In homecoming games dating back to 1946, Wofford is 44-21-2 overall.
Wofford has won four straight over Elon and lead the series 26-11. It was the last meeting as Southern Conference opponents as Elon moves to the CAA next season.
Jonny Martin ran for 114 yards and two touchdowns. It was his first career 100+ rushing game. It was the fourth 100+ rushing game this season by a Wofford player.
The ten completions and 151 passing yards by James Lawson were career-highs. The interception thrown by Lawson in the second quarter was the first of his career.
Players missing the game due to injury for Wofford were S James Zotto (thumb), LB SeQuan Stanley (knee), and RB Cam Flowers (knee). FB Donovan Johnson (concussion) left the game in the first quarter.
Game captains were Josh Davis and Michael Harpe.
Attendance was 8,209 at Gibbs Stadium.
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