Story and photo courtesy of Wofford Athletics
ELON, N.C. – On a wet Saturday afternoon, the Wofford football team used a career day by Eric Breitenstein to win 49-24 over Elon at Rhodes Stadium. Breitenstein set a new Southern Conference single game record with 321 rushing yards in the contest as the Terriers ran for a total of 500 yards.
The Terriers open the season 4-0 and 2-0 in the SoCon. Elon is 2-3 overall and 0-2 in conference play. For Wofford, Breitenstein had two touchdowns. Brian Kass ran for 57 yards and three touchdowns and threw for one touchdown. Elon was led by Thomas Wilson who was 31-of-47 passing for 322 yards and two touchdowns. Aaron Mellette had 13 catches for 177 yards and two touchdowns.
“The big guys up front did an unbelievable job,” said head coach Mike Ayers. “I think anytime that you have a day like today you have to start there. Eric had a record-setting day and it was one of those situations where everything came together. We had talked to our guys all week that Elon would do a lot of different things and there are times they would get us and there are times we would get them. If we do, they are going to be big plays and that is the way that it turned out. I thought that Elon played hard and it was a four-quarter game in all three phases. If you look at what is to come, the hill only gets higher and the next challenge is Furman.”
The Phoenix had the ball first and gained one first down before Alvin Scioneaux forced a fumble that was recovered by E.J. Speller. On the first play for the Wofford offense, Donovan Johnson ran 32 yards for a touchdown and a 7-0 lead with 13:09 on the clock.
Elon used three passing first downs to move into the redzone. A pass break-up in the endzone by Blake Wylie on third down gave the Phoenix a 35-yard field goal attempt that was good with 10:21 left in the first quarter. With the ball back, Wofford once again needed only one play as Eric Breitenstein went 90-yards down the middle of the field for a touchdown and a 14-3 advantage.
On the next drive for Elon, the Phoenix gained two first downs before punting. Wofford went three and out and punted, but Elon punted back to the Terriers after one first down. The Terriers drove to the seven-yard line, but on third down a fumble was recovered by the Phoenix. Elon could not convert the turnover into points and punted. Wofford drove inside the five-yard line, but a pass was intercepted by Odell Benton in the endzone. The Phoenix gave it right back to Wofford when Stephon Shelton recovered a fumble and returned it to the 18-yard line. Brian Kass found Michael Harpe in the far corner of the endzone for a 16-yard touchdown pass to take a 21-3 lead with 5:21 left in the second quarter.
Elon drove quickly down the field and scored a touchdown as Thomas Wilson found Aaron Mellette in the endzone for a seven-yard reception. The score was 21-10 with 2:09 remaining in the first half. Wofford went the distance of the field in only 90 seconds as Eric Breitenstein had a 49-yard run and scored on a 19-yard run to give the Terriers a 28-10 lead with 29 seconds remaining in the half. Elon took a knee to send the game to halftime.
Wofford had the ball to open the second half, but gained only one first down before punting. Elon went three-and-out and punted. The Terriers had the ball back and after a 42-yard run by Eric Breitenstein, Brian Kass scored from one yard out. Wofford led 35-10 with 9:33 on the clock in the third quarter. The Phoenix drove down the field with four first downs and scored when Aaron Mellette caught a pass from Thomas Wilson that went through the hands of a Wofford defender. Elon converted the two-point attempt for a 35-18 score with 5:03 left in the third quarter.
The Terriers were three-and-out and punted on their next drive. Elon was able to drive into Wofford territory and scored on a 43-yard field goal by Adam Shreiner with 1:14 on the clock in the fourth quarter for a 35-21 score.
Brian Kass then capped a nine-play drive with a two-yard touchdown run to make it 42-21 with 11:27 left in the game. Elon gained one first down before failing to convert a fourth-and-three and turning the ball back over to Wofford. The Terriers then added a touchdown with a 39-yard run by Brian Kass to take a 49-21 lead with 8:04 remaining. A 33-yard field goal by Adam Shreiner with 2:52 left on the clock made it a 49-24 game. Wofford was able to run out the final minutes after Eric Breitenstein set the SoCon rushing mark with a nine-yard first down run.
Wofford had 516 total yards, with 500 on the ground. Elon had 410 total yards, 361 of which were passing. The Terriers had 22 first downs to 24 for the Phoenix. Wofford was 8-of-12 on third downs. Elon was 5-of-15 on third down. Each team had four penalties. Elon had the time of possession by a 30:31 to 29:29 margin.
Next week, the Terriers will host Furman at 1:30 p.m. at Gibbs Stadium.