Thomas' 15-yard scoring run with 2:15 left in the first quarter made it 14-7 and Elon peeled away from there.
Elon (6-5, 5-3 Colonial Athletic Association) finishes with its first winning record since the 2018 team went 6-5. It's also the first five-win conference effort since 2017.
Elon closed the year with two consecutive wins and defeated two teams that were ranked at the time of play. The Phoenix also beat then No. 21-ranked Richmond 20-7 in October.
Rhode Island's (7-4, 4-4) two-game win streak came to an end. In a season of runs, the Rams started with five straight wins, followed with three straight defeats then won back-to-back.
Kasim Hill threw for 394 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions for the Rams.
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