Wofford kicks past Elon in FCS playoff opener
Luke Carter kicked four field goals and Wofford allowed only one score Saturday as the Terriers took a 19-7 victory against Elon in a first-round FCS playoff game on Mike Ayers Field at Gibbs Stadium. They advanced TO a second-round matchup next week at No. 4 overall seed Kennesaw State in what will be a 2 p.m. kickterriers off Dec. 1 in Kennesaw, Ga., near Atlanta.
“Obviously, we are all really excited about the win,” Wofford first-year head coach Josh Conklin said. “… Any time you are playing football in late November and the first of December, it’s a really good thing.”
Wofford (9-3) ran for 344 yards but managed just one touchdown as the offense kept bogging down in the red zone against Elon (6-5). The had to turn their scoring chances over to Carter for field goals on separate drives that included third-and-2 from the 19, third-and-7 from the 8 and then fourth down from the 4, thirdand-6 from the 15 and first-and-goal from the 4.
“He did a tremendous job all day of putting them through the uprights,” Conklin said. “… There weren’t too many tough decisions. It was kick it and get the points. We felt like the defense was playing really well, we had a pretty good handle on what they were going and how they were going to attack us as the game was going on. So we could afford to keep kicking.”
Carter, a senior who was All-southern Conference last season, had field goals of 32, 21, 33 and 25 yards. It was a career-best for the Florence native (Wilson High School) and was only the second time A Wofford history kicker has made four in a game. Brett Schulman did that in 1985, also against Elon.
“It was awesome. I was really excited,” Carter said. “I’m just happy I could do my job. Coach Conklin talks about that all the time. Do your job. Do your part. The offense did a great job of getting into the red zone every time. I just wanted to finish their hard work. I feel comfortable with Miller (Mosely, the holder) and Ross (Hammond, the snapper, from Dorman High) and the O-line. I think they did a great job.”
Wofford only had eight possessions in the game and scored on five. Nathan Walker had the only touchdown on a 4-yard run to open the second half as he carried five times for 54 yards on that drive. There was an early missed field goal by Carter, from 36 yards out, that left Elon in front, 7-3, on the way to a halftime lead of 7-6. Carter would come back and make three straight to finish 4-for-5.
“You have to handle adversity as kickers,” he said. “Sometimes things don’t go your way. You want to make every kick, but it doesn’t always work out that way. You have to be able to come back the next time. A bunch of my teammates came up to me (after the miss) and said, ‘We’re going to need you the rest of the game. We believe in you. You’re a great kicker. We know you’re going to do your job.’ I was just happy to prove them right.”