Today at Elon / Elon announces the Phoenix 2023 football schedule
The Phoenix look to build on an 8-4 season and achieve back-to-back FCS playoff berths.
The Elon football team will open the 2023 season in a special Thursday night contest at Wake Forest and the Phoenix will play its first six games in the state of North Carolina, as announced today by the Colonial Athletic Association.
Coming off of its fourth FCS playoff appearance in program history, Elon will play eight CAA games, as well as non-conference contests against Wake Forest, Gardner-Webb and North Carolina Central.
The Phoenix will host North Carolina A&T on Sept. 16 for the 2023 home opener and Hall of Fame Weekend.
This year’s Family Weekend game will be Sept. 30 against William & Mary. Homecoming will take place on the weekend of Oct. 21 as the Phoenix hosts Monmouth.
Elon will open the 2023 season with its first non-Saturday game since 2017 as the Phoenix will travel to Winston-Salem to face FBS foe Wake Forest. Under Head Coach Dave Clawson, the Demon Deacons went 8-5 in 2022, including a win over Missouri in the Union Home Mortgage Gasparilla Bowl. Wake Forest was ranked as high as No. 10 in the country during the fall.
The Phoenix will then travel to Gardner-Webb for a more traditional Saturday non-conference contest as Elon looks for its second victory in as many years over the Runnin’ Bulldogs. In 2022, Elon jumped out to a 20-3 lead but Gardner-Webb rallied to lead 24-20 at the half. Elon pitched a second half shutout, though, and won 30-24. Gardner-Webb advanced to the FCS playoffs this fall.
In weeks three and four, Elon will face new CAA members, beginning with the home opener against North Carolina A&T on Sept. 16, which will also serve as Hall of Fame Weekend. The contest will serve as the Aggies’ first conference game after leaving the Big South Conference. The two programs last played in 2019 when then-No. 19 NC A&T edged out the No. 21 Phoenix 24-21. Elon, in fact, has not defeated the Aggies since a 45-0 victory in 2006. The Phoenix will carry a six-game home winning streak into the contest, including a perfect 5-0 record a year ago, the longest home win streak for Elon in Rhodes Stadium history.
Just seven days later, Elon travels to Campbell to welcome the Camels to the CAA from the Big South Conference. Elon won the only previous meeting between the two programs, a 24-23 decision in 2021. In that contest, Campbell failed to convert a two-point conversion attempt with 71 seconds remaining for a thrilling Phoenix victory.
Elon hosts a rematch with William & Mary on Sept. 30 for Family Weekend following a wild 2022 contest. The Phoenix posted one of the largest comebacks of the year, trailing 28-10 at the half and 31-16 after three. Jalen Hampton’s 15-yard score with 1:07 to play gave Elon the improbable 35-31 win, which was also William & Mary’s only defeat of the regular season.
The Phoenix closes non-conference play by hosting local rival North Carolina Central Oct. 7.
The Eagles went 10-2 in 2022 and defeated Jackson State in the Cricket Celebration Bowl, 41-34 in overtime. Elon and North Carolina Central have not played since 2012, a 34-14 Phoenix win that gave the program a 9-3 advantage in the all-time series. The programs have only played twice at the FCS level with Elon earning both wins.
From there, Elon closes the year with five consecutive conference games. The Phoenix plays at Villanova on Oct. 14 for just the fourth match-up between the programs. They did not play in 2022 but the Wildcats won 35-0 in 2021. Elon won the only match-up at Villanova, a 19-14 decision in 2017.
The Phoenix returns home Oct. 21 to host Monmouth for Homecoming. The Hawks will be in just their second season in the CAA and the two programs have never played.
Elon will have a bye the final week of October before making the longest road trip of the season the following week. The Phoenix will play at Delaware on Nov. 4 in a rematch of a game that kickstarted Elon’s late season playoff push in 2022. Elon defeated the then-No. 25 Blue Hens 27-7 to start a three-game win streak that closed the season. It marked the second consecutive Elon win in the series after Delaware had won the first three meetings.
On Nov. 11, Elon will play at Richmond following yet another wild 2022 contest. The Phoenix forced overtime with a Skyler Davis 42-yard field goal with just 37 seconds remaining and then won in the second overtime, 30-27, on an 11-yard Hampton scoring jaunt. Elon has now won two straight in the series but Richmond still leads all-time, 9-5.
The Phoenix will close the regular season at home on Nov. 18 as Elon hosts Hampton. Another second-year CAA program, Hampton will be Elon’s regular season finale for the second straight year. In 2022, the game was held in Virginia and the Phoenix led a tight contest 21-17 at the break. But the Phoenix pulled away in the second half for a 38-24 win.
The Elon football team went 8-4 in 2022 and 6-2 in CAA Football play and is scheduled to return 11 starters in 2023 (seven on offense and four on defense). The Phoenix ended the regular season ranked No. 12 in the country and earned a bid to the FCS playoffs for the first time since 2018. Elon defeated three ranked teams during the season, including handing national seed William & Mary its only regular season defeat. The Phoenix were a perfect 5-0 at home and ended 2022 with a six-game undefeated streak inside Rhodes Stadium, the longest such unbeaten streak in the stadium’s history.