BUIES CREEK – Elon rallied from a 10-point deficit in the third quarter, then withstood a late Campbell comeback attempt to earn a 24-23 win Saturday night at Barker-Lane Stadium.
Campbell (0-2) cut the lead to one with 1:11 remaining on Hajj-Malik Williams’ second touchdown strike to Caleb Snead of the night. However, Williams was hauled down on a quarterback keeper on the ensuing two-point conversion.
Dylan Tucker recovered the onside kick and the Phoenix (1-1) took a knee twice to run out the clock.
Davis Cheek completed 22-of-37 passes for 269 yards and two scores, and Elon converted two Camel turnovers in the fourth quarter into 10 points as the Phoenix rallied from a 17-7 deficit.
The Camels went in front by 10 with 9:57 left in the third when Williams connected with Jai Williams on a 28-yard scoring pass.
However, the Phoenix responded with a 9-play, 70-yard march. Cheek hit Chandler Brayboy with a 6-yard scoring pass to trim the gap to 17-14 with 6:22 left in the third.
Early in the fourth period, Tre’Von Jones intercepted Williams’ pass and his 27-yard return gave Elon a first down at the CU 28. Five plays later, McKinley Witherspoon ran in from four yards out put the Phoenix in front (21-17) for the first time since early in the game.
On Campbell’s next possession, Nick Veloz stripped the ball from Camel running back Lamagea McDowell and Jones recovered. The Camels held Elon to Skyler Davis’ 47-yard field goal and trailed by seven with 2:18 left.
Williams then connected with Snead on a 48-yard scoring pass to bring CU within 24-23.
Jaylan Thomas led Elon with 55 yards on 19 rushes and was one of four Phoenix players to have four catches on the night.
Williams completed 11-of-23 passes for 152 yards and three scores and added 68 yards on 15 rushes. Snead and Jai Williams finished with three receptions each for the Camels.
Elon finished with 382 yards of total offense, compared to 282 for CU.
Keshawn Thompson led CU with nine total tackles, while Tywun Rivens added eight stops. Jones led Elon with nine tackles in addition to his pick and fumble recovery.
In spite of being outgained 220-54 in the opening half, Campbell led 10-7 at the break, thanks in part to a blocked punt and field goal.
Elon marched 60 yards on its first possession and took the lead when Cheek completed a 28-yard pass to Jackson Parham.
Reece Moulton blocked Jeff Yurk’s punt to set up the Camels with a first down on the Elon 14. Two plays later Williams connected with Snead on 9-yard TD pass to tie the score at 7-all.
The Phoenix drove 73 yards on their next possession, but the Camels held Elon on fourth and goal from the two. After a Camel punt, Elon again stalled in CU territory at the 30.
Isaac Riffle’s 40-yard field goal pushed the Camels ahead 10-7 with 0:40 left in the second quarter. Elon drove again into CU territory, but Davis’ 55-yard field goal attempt was blocked by Josh Johnson as time expired.
Campbell returns to action next Saturday (Sept. 18) with a 6:00 p.m. kickoff vs. Presbyterian at Barker-Lane Stadium.