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.
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