ELON, N.C. -- Aaron Mellette caught 10 passes for 100 yards and two touchdowns, marking the 22nd time the senior has had at least 100 receiving yards in a game, but the Elon Phoenix fell in a 26-15 contest against the Samford Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.
Mellette's two touchdown grabs move his season total to 17, just two shy of the Southern Conference single season mark of 19 set by Marshall's Randy Moss in 1996.
"We played a big, physical football team that we just didn't match up with," said Elon head coach Jason Swepson. "We had some major injuries and had to play a lot of walk-ons. It was a good football team we played. The defense kept us in the game and it was good to see that. The offense took a long time to get going. We didn't make enough plays when we had opportunities."
Samford (7-3, 5-3 SoCon) got on the board first when Cameron Yaw's 38-yard field goal sailed through the uprights with 9:44 left in the first quarter. The Bulldogs added a one-yard touchdown run from Fabian Truss to cap a six-play, 30-yard drive later in the period to make it 10-0 and would take a 13-0 lead into the halftime break.
The Bulldog lead stretched to 20-0 in the third quarter when Truss broke free for a 75-yard TD run.
Elon (3-7, 1-6) took possession at its own 16 with just 53 seconds remaining in the third quarter and moved to its own 41 before the period ended.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Thomas Wilson hit Mellette for a 17-yard gain into Samford territory at the 38.
Back-to-back completions to Jeremy Peterson and Kierre Brown moved it to the 21 where the maroon and gold would face a fourth-and-three. Wilson was able to keep the drive alive thanks to a lunging grab by Rasaun Rorie at the 13.
The Phoenix would again face fourth down on this drive. On fourth-and-one from the four, Wilson was able to connect with Mellette for the TD to make it a 20-7 contest.
Samford was able to stretch the lead to 26-7 on its ensuing drive as the Bulldogs went 82 yards in 15 plays that concluded with an Andy Summerlin four-yard pass to Kelsey Pope for a touchdown.
The Phoenix marched right back down the field, going 64 yards in just eight plays. Wilson moved the ball to the Samford 18 before having to exit the game. Mike Quinn came in at quarterback and drilled an 18-yard TD strike to Mellette on his second play in the game. Elon then converted the two-point conversion as Quinn tossed to Chris Harris to make it 26-15.
Elon's defense had two standout performances. Linebackers Jonathan Spain and Blake Thompson combined to make 37 tackles. Spain finished with a career-best 20 stops while Thompson's 17 takedowns were also a personal best. Spain's 20-tackle performance marked the first such outing for an Elon player since Corey Weaver had 25 tackles on Sept. 30, 2006 at Appalachian State.
Truss racked up a career-high 219 rushing yards and two touchdowns for Samford.
The Phoenix will conclude the 2012 campaign next Saturday with a visit to Chattanooga to face the Mocs. Kick is set for 2 p.m.
Elon Sports Information Dept.