Elon University Student Newspaper /
Nov. 19, 2008, edition 1 /
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Page 20 / Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Narrow loss to Appalachian springs hope for playoffs
With four minutes left in the
fourth quarter, eight points were
all that stood in the way of the Elon
football team and its first-ever share
of a Southern Conference regular
season championship. One drive. One
touchdown. One two-point conversion.
By the time the snow settled from
atop the .Appalachian .Mountains and
the clock reached triple zero, there was
still an eight-point difference on the
Appalachian State University
clinched the conference regular season
title with a heartbreaking 24-16 win
against Elon, eliminating the Phoenix
from a title, as well as an automatic
berth in the Football Championship
“If there is ever such a thing as a
good loss, playing .Appalachian better
than any SoCon team has for two
seasons would be one," head coach Pete
Lembo said. “It shows we are capable
of representing the playoff field well
if we are in it. I hope that will be
something that is considered.”
With a record of 8-3, 6-2, No. 12
Elon sits in third place in the SoCon
standings with one non-conference
game left against No. 20 Liberty
University on Nov. 22. Appalachian and
Wofford, ijoth teams Elon has lost to
this season, sit in first and second in
league standings, respectively.
At this point, Elon is at the mercy
of the committee that selects the 16
PCS teams that get the opportunity to
advance to the playoffs.
It is probable that a 9-3 football
team will not advance to the
postseason this year. Liberty stands
at 9-2 right now and is 5-0 in the Big
South. A win for both teams is crucial.
“We beat them last year and they
are hungry to get another shot at us,”
Lembo said. “They are playing for an
AUSHA PARK | The Appalachai
Quarterback Scott Riddle went 20-39 with one interception and two touchdowns in Eton’s Saturday afternoon toss to Appalachian State
24-16. Riddle threw for 196 yards against the three-time defending channpions.
at-large bid, too. A win would make
them 10-2. If they beat us, it could be
the marquee win they are seeking."
Liberty has been a devastating
team in the Big South, dominating
the conference in the recent past,
including winning the 2007 conference
“They know how to win and have 15
senior starters," Lembo said. “We only
have 11 seniors in the entire program.
They are a veteran team with a lot of
Last season, the Phoenix narrowly
missed an automatic bid to the
postseason, collapsing in its last few
conference games. This time around,
it was different — almost pulling out
a win against three-time defending
national champions Appalachian
State, in the mountains surrounded
by 24,831 fans (which almost doubles
Elon’s largest attendance record).
To increase the odds of getting
selected to the postseason, Elon
recently submitted a video that
includes any relevant information on
the team, including stats, records,
information on high-profile players
and game footage.
Offensive coordinator Mike
McCarty said the committee
encourages this kind of marketing
so it can explore all avenues of each
team, especially those fighting for an
Lembo said he is hopeful his
team’s performance combined with
everything this season, including a
desired win against Liberty Saturday,
will be enough to boost the Phoenix to
“For all intents and purposes, [the
game against Liberty) could be the
play-in game,” Lembo said.
“The winner will be going to the
postseason, the loser will be home for
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