Spring football for the Elon Phoenix has seen quite a few ups and downs after six games so far this season. It all started prior to Week 1 when the team learned it would be without senior starting quarterback Davis Cheek all season due to a foot injury. Now their last two games of the season have been postponed due to COVID-19-related issues within the schedule.
At this point, the Colonial Athletic Association has yet to announce if and when Elon will play his last two games of the season. Whether or not the game is playing Phoenix, Elon was able to get a small taste of what’s to come for the future of the program during this shortened season.
Redshirt sophomore Joey Baughman was fit as the teams starting quarterback in the season opener against Davidson College. Baughman led the team to a comeback win in Week 1 and started again in Week 2 against Gardner-Webb University. But late in the third quarter, Baughman left the game with a lower leg injury and was officially eliminated for the remainder of the season.
Since then, Elon has been spinning back and forth between freshman JR Martin and redshirt freshman Justin Allen as a quarterback. Martin has appeared in four games for Elon, with a team-high 396 passes, three touchdowns and four interceptions. Allen, meanwhile, has registered 290 passing yards, two touchdowns and three interceptions in three games played.
Head coach Tony Trisciani declined Elon News Networks’ request to interview Martin because he wanted to protect his freshman quarterback.
However, Trisciani said his team would move forward and try to save the season.
It was frustrating, but we would continue to compete and develop our players, Trisciani said. We played a lot more players at this point, maybe more than we would have in a typical season. We want to get as many guys on the field as possible and get some gaming experience to develop our program, which in turn will make us better in the fall.
Martin first appeared as a quarterback for the Phoenix in Week 2 against Gardner-Webb after Baughman left the game. In the absence of Baughmans, Martin completed 8 of 11 pass attempts for 69 yards and one interception.
Martin’s first career start came the following week in Elon’s conference opener against James Madison University. Martin started the game strong and threw a touchdown to junior wide receiver Bryson Daughtry, giving Elon a 17-3 lead at halftime against the number 1 team in the FCS. Elons’ attack struggled in the second half, failing to score another run and turn the ball over once after an interception, allowing the Dukes to come back and win 20-17.
Despite the shaky performance in the second half against James Madison, Martin got the nod as starter for their next game against Richmond. With a 7-24 loss in the third quarter, Trisciani made the decision to switch quarterbacks and pulled Martin out of the game and put Allen in it. Allen stayed at quarterback for the rest of the game, with one touchdown and two interceptions in total.
Against The College of William & Mary the following week, Trisciani stayed with Allen as a starter. Allen saw the field only for the first half and registered only 34 yards and no touchdowns. In the second half, the ball went back into the hands of Martin, who managed to score more than 100 yards and threw Elon’s lonely touchdown.
In Elons’ second game against the University of Richmond, Allen geared up for his second straight start, despite being removed from the game the week before. This time the outcome was very different for Allen. The red-shirt freshman finished the game with 198 passing yards, one touchdown and one interception.
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