How It Happened
Aaron Parker caught three touchdown passes, but Rhode Island came up just short in a 24-21 loss at No. 8/6 Elon Saturday.
Rhode Island (5-4, 3-3 CAA Football) struck first when JaJuan Lawson hit Aaron Parker for an 82-yard touchdown pass with 1:13 to go in the first quarter. It was the longest play from scrimmage for the Rams on the season.
No. 8/6 Elon (6-2, 4-1 CAA Football) responded with a touchdown drive of its own on ensuing possession. The Phoenix drove 73 yards in six plays, capped by a 2-yard scoring rush by De'Sean McNair.
The score remained tied 7-7 until late in the second quarter, when Elon scored two touchdowns in a span of 90 seconds. Jaylan Thomas broke off an 86-yard touchdown run to help the Phoenix go up, 14-7, with 1:49 left in the half. Rhody drove to the Elon 14, but a batted pass was picked off by Warren Messer and returned 86 yards for a touchdown with just 19 seconds left in the half.
Lawson and Parker connected again in the fourth quarter on a 4-yard touchdown pass to help pull the Rams within 21-14 with 6:29 to go. The score capped a 14-play, 70-yard drive for the Rams. The duo connected again on a 20-yard score with 1:12 to go to pull the Rams within 24-21, but a failed onside kick essentially sealed the game for Elon.
Inside the Box Score
- Junior wide receiver Aaron Parker caught nine passes for a career-high 190 yards and three touchdowns, including an 82-yard touchdown.
- With three touchdown catches, Parker became just the fifth Ram to record 20 career touchdown catches, joining Dameon Reilly (38), Brian Forster (32), Bobby Apgar (26) and Shawn Leonard (21).
- The 82-yard reception was a career-long for Parker and the seventh-longest pass play in Rhode Island history. It is the longest pass play for Rhode Island since an 83-yard pass from Steve Probst to Anthony Baskerville against Massachusetts on Sept. 17, 2011.
- Parker moved into seventh place in program history in receiving yards with 2,100. He passed Brandon Johnson-Farrell, who had 2,064 from 2008-12.
- Redshirt senior quarterback JaJuan Lawson returned after missing the last four games. He finished the day 25-of-35 for 349 yards, three touchdowns and one interception.
- Redshirt senior Zay Hill recorded his 23rd career pass break up, giving him sole possession of fourth place in team history. Virgil Gray (26 from 2003-06), Raymond Williams (25 from 1983-85) and Chuck Wesley (25 from 1998-2001) are the only players with more.
- Junior defensive end L.B. Mack III had nine tackles, including 1.5 tackles for loss. Redshirt sophomore defensive end Andre Bibeault added seven stops and 1.0 TFL.
- Senior safety D.J. Stewart returned after missing three games and led the team with 11 tackles.
- Senior linebacker Justin Hogan had seven tackles and served as the anchor bearer.
- The attendance for the game was 10,858. The game was Elon's Homecoming contest.
Rhode Island is back on the road to play No. 3/3 James Madison next Saturday, Nov. 10. Game time is 2 p.m.