Saturday, November 18, 2017

James Madison Takes Down Elon to Win CAA Title

ELON – Senior Day at Rhodes Stadium was a sunny, yet chilly one that celebrated ten departing Elon football players. The Phoenix, thriving this season under new coach Curt Cignetti, were taking on the defending conference and national champions in the James Madison Dukes. Elon was looking for its first win against James Madison in a game where the winner would hoist the Colonial Athletic Association football championship trophy. Elon (8-3, 6-2) did not emerge victorious, however, as the Dukes (11-0, 8-0) won 31-3 to clinch at least a share of the CAA title for the third year in a row.

The first quarter was filled with mistimed passes and muffled runs for both teams. James Madison had a good drive, but it ended when Connor Christiansen stepped in front of a pass at the 4-yard line. As was the case for most of the day, Elon couldn't move the ball against a stout JMU defense. It took an Ethan Ratke 19-yard field goal to break the tie late in the first quarter.

The second and third quarters were the Bryan Schor show for James Madison. The senior quarterback was able to move the chains with his arms and legs, throwing for over 120 yards and rushing for two scores. The Dukes' defense wanted in on the scoring action, and when D'Angelo Amos blocked an Elon punt and returned it to the house, James Madison had a commanding 24-0 lead.

Elon finally got on the board early in the fourth quarter with a 30-yard Owen Johnson field goal, but it was too little, too late as Schor added another touchdown, his third of the day, to close out the scoring and the visiting Dukes left Elon with a twenty-eight point victory.

Notable North Carolinians

Trai Sharp (Jr., Carrboro) ran for 68 yards for the Dukes and caught three passes for 15 yards
Chris Blair (Sr., East Forsyth) led Elon with nine tackles and was a presence in the defensive backfield
McAllister Ingram (Fr., Ledford) had eight tackles and had a big hit on a punt return

Next Week

Both schools are waiting to see for the FCS playoff brackets to be released. James Madison has the auto-bid from the CAA while Elon is hoping for an at-large bid.