Rams 8-0 for First Time in School History
BRONX, NEW YORK, OCTOBER 21- Chances are Joe Moorhead will not even dominate the topic of conversation at his own dinner table tonight despite the fact that he led the Fordham University football team to its eighth straight win, becoming the first Ram squad since 1923 (the first year in which dates for all games are available) to open the season 8-0. But Moorhead will not mind that his daughter will share the spotlight tonight after throwing a no-hitter for her softball team because Moorhead has the Rams firing on all cylinders as Fordham defeated Yale, 53-31, in the Yale Bowl.
“It’s been a tremendous ride and a testament to these young men,” said Moorhead. “They bought into the things we identified we needed to do in order to win, which includes preparation, effort and execution along with all the little things and making no excuses. My hat’s off to them as they are doing a phenomenal job.”
Not only did the Rams advance to 8-0 on the season, they also closed out their non-conference season with a perfect 6-0 record, the most non-conference wins ever for Fordham and the first undefeated non-conference season since the 1988 squad went 5-0. Fordham is now one of four undefeated NCAA FCS teams, the only one with eight wins.
The game featured an explosive Fordham offense and a bend-but-don’t break defense. Junior wide receiver Sam Ajala led the offense, hauling in ten passes for a school-record 282 yards and four touchdowns (which tied a school record). Junior quarterback Mike Nebrich was the one getting the ball to Ajala, finishing the game completing 19 of 26 passes for 421 yards and the four scores while also rushing for another touchdown. Nebrich, who had his second straight 400-yard passing game, finished just six yards shy of the Fordham single-game passing yards record.
The game was Fordham’s fourth 50-point game of the year, the most 50-points games in one year for the Rams, who had never had more than two in a season entering 2013.
Defensively, junior linebacker Stephen Hodge made a career-high 14 tackles for the second straight week, 13 solo, including five for loss and he forced two fumbles, while Ian Williams also made 14 stops, eleven solo and he forced a fumble as the Rams forced four Yale turnovers on the day.
The Rams did not waste much time getting on the score board as on the second play from scrimmage, Nebrich found a streaking Ajala with a 68-yard scoring strike to put the Rams up 7-0 just 35 seconds into the game.
The Bulldogs used a long kickoff return to get deep into Fordham territory but on the fourth play of the drive, Ian Williams hit Tyler Varga, forcing him to drop the ball which was recovered by Levon Williams on the Fordham 22.
Later in the first, Yale took over on the Fordham 32 following an interception and three plays later, Henry Furman took it in from the 17 to tie the game at seven with 2:18 left in the first.
But the game was not tied for long as Nebrich drove the team down field and eventually found Ajala with a 29-yard touchdown pass with 22 seconds left in the quarter.
Early in the second, Jake Dixon sacked Morgan Roberts on third down at the Fordham 35, forcing the Bulldogs to punt. The Rams got the ball to the Yale 27 where the drive stalled and Michael Marando came on to boot a 43-yard field goal to make it a 17-7 game.
The Bulldogs took the ensuing kickoff and moved to the Fordham 14 but Hodge hit Furman in the backfield forcing a fumble which was recovered by Jordan Chapman.
The game remained 17-7 until the second play of Fordham’s first possession of the second half when Nebrich found Ajala with a 68-yard touchdown pass to put the Rams up 24-7.
Yale drove down to the Fordham two on the next possession but could not punch it in on third down and had to settle for an 18-yard field goal to cut the Fordham lead to 14, 24-10, midway through the third.
The Bulldogs attempted an on-side kick but the ball went out of bounds at the Yale 47, giving the Rams a short field. Fordham covered the 47 yards on seven plays with Jared Crayton powering in from the six for the score and a 31-10 Fordham lead with 4:33 on the clock.
After Yale made it a 31-17 game, Nebrich hit Ajala with a 43-yard pass completion and, four plays later, ran it in from the seven to make it a 21-point game again, 38-17, with 1:07 left in the third.
On Fordham’s next possession, Ajala tied the school record with his fourth touchdown catch, a 33-yarder from Nebrich that pushed the Fordham lead to 45-17, 2:32 into the fourth.
A Yale touchdown made it a 45-24 game just under two minutes later, but an Austin Hancock interception set up a Crayton one-yard scoring plunge with 5:20 remaining to boost the Fordham lead to 52-24.
Carlton Koonce rushed 20 times for 102 yards for the Rams, his fifth 100-yard rushing game of the year, while Tebucky Jones, Jr. and Wetzel each caught three passes.
After a bye week the Rams will return to action on Saturday, November 2, as they host the Holy Cross Crusaders on Jack Coffey Field at 1:00 p.m. in the annual Ram-Crusader Cup game between the two Patriot League Jesuits schools.