ELON, N.C. -- Freshman Jaylan Thomas ran for 222 yards -- the eighth-biggest game in Elon history -- and scored a touchdown to help the Phoenix turn back Rhode Island 24-21 on Saturday.
Thomas scored on an 86-yard run, going untouched up the middle before outrunning the defense for the fifth-longest run in school history, late in the second quarter. Just 90 seconds later Warren Messer returned a deflected pass 86 yards -- the seventh-longest interception return in school history -- to make it 21-7 19 seconds before halftime.
Skyler Davis kicked a 19-yard field goal with 2:41 remaining, critical for the Phoenix (6-2, 4-1 Colonial Athletic Association), ranked sixth by coaches in the FCS, as they struggled to contain Rams wide receiver Aaron Parker.
Parker, who had an 82-yard touchdown in the first half to open the scoring, had a 4-yarder with 6:26 to play, and a 20-yarder with 1:12 to go. The Rams (5-4, 3-3) failed on onside kicks after the two late touchdowns, the first leading to the deciding field goal.
Parker finished with a career-high 190 yards on nine receptions. He surpassed 2,000 yards receiving and has 21 TDs, the fifth Ram to reach 20. JaJuan Lawson matched his career-best in passes and completions, going 25 of 35 for 349 yards, 2 yards shy of his best.
The Rams had 423 yards of total offense and the Phoenix 353, all but 35 on the ground.
Nick Rolovich will follow all rules for the unvaccinated
Allison Williams says Nick Rolovich plans on following all protocols after revealing he will not receive the COVID-19 vaccine
Florida Gators, UCF Knights agree to 3-game football series beginning in 2024
The Gators have agreed to host the Knights in Gainesville on Oct. 5, 2024, travel to Orlando on Sept. 14, 2030, and then host UCF again on Sept. 3, 2033.
Stanford coach David Shaw calls Alabama QB Bryce Young's seven-figure NIL deals a 'great way to recruit'
Stanford football coach David Shaw says Alabama QB Bryce Young's seven-figure NIL deals could be a great recruiting tool for Alabama.
Source: Former Ohio State Buckeyes, Miami Hurricanes QB Tate Martell to join UNLV Rebels as athlete
UNLV is set to add former Ohio State and Miami quarterback Tate Martell as an athlete, a school source confirmed to ESPN.
Big Ten East college football offseason preview - Can anyone close the gap on Ohio State?
After last year's loss in the national title game, Ohio State returns as the clear favorite. But is Penn State ready to bounce back? And what about Michigan or Indiana?
College football conference realignment tracker -- Biggest questions, next steps for each league
Texas and Oklahoma have officially notified the SEC they're seeking an invitation for membership beginning July 1, 2025. So what does this mean for conference realignment as a whole? Our reporters break it down.