Rams can’t overcome five turnovers, fall, 27-14, at Lafayette
BRONX, NEW YORK, NOVEMBER 18- It was a game of lots of little missed opportunities that resulted in a big missed opportunity for the Fordham football Rams, the opportunity to go undefeated for just the third time in school history. The Rams turned the ball over five times and never seemed to be able to get on track, falling to Lafayette College, 27-14, in Fisher Stadium.
The loss for the Rams, who entered the game ranked fifth in the NCAA FCS, drops Fordham to 10-1 on the year while Lafayette improves to 4-6.
Playing without the services of injured quarterback Mike Nebrich, the Fordham offense went through stops and starts, seeming to pick up big yardage on some plays but having the play called back by costly penalties, as the Rams were held to a season-low 14 points.
The defense also came up with some big plays, intercepting the Lafayette quarterback four times, but could not come up with the big stops when needed, allowing the Leopards to convert on six of 14 third downs.
Things looked good for the Rams at the start as Fordham took the opening kickoff and drove to the Lafayette 26, thanks to a 20-yard rush from Carlton Koonce on the first play and a 30-yard completion from Peter Maetzold to Brian Wetzel two plays later. Facing a fourth-and-one at the Lafayette 26, Koonce took the ball around the right side and picked up the first down but the Rams were called for holding and had to settle for a 47-yard Marando field goal attempt which went wide left.
The Leopards used the momentum of the missed opportunity and moved to the Fordham 13 where Brett Biestek rushed Lafayette quarterback Drew Reed on third down, causing an incompletion, but Ryan Gralish kicked a 30-yard field goal to give Lafayette a 3-0 lead with 9:24 left in the first.
The Rams again moved the ball to midfield on the ensuing possession but Wetzel fumbled after hauling in a pass and the ball was recovered by the Leopards.
It took one play for Lafayette to capitalize on the miscue as Reed connected with Mark Ross with a 49-yard scoring strike to boost the Lafayette lead to 10-0 with 8:03 on the clock.
The Leopards threatened early in the second quarter with a first and goal at the two but Stephen Hodge intercepted Reed in the end zone to thwart the treat.
The offense seemed to feed off the momentum, moving 80 yards on eight plays with Maetzold finding Wetzel on a screen pass that Wetzel brought 34 yards to the end zone to get Fordham on the board with 10:38 left in the second.
The Rams picked off Reed again on the next possession when Jordan Chapman was able to grab the ball while lying on the ground on the Fordham 21.
Koonce appeared to pick up 21 yards on the first play from scrimmage but the Rams were called for holding and, two plays later, DeOliver Davis picked off a tipped pass for Lafayette on the Fordham 33.
Lafayette turned the interception into points as Ross Scheuerman took it in from the two five plays later to put the Leopards up 17-7 with 5:34 left in the half.
Fordham used a 42-yard completion from Maetzold to Wetzel on the second play of the ensuing drive to move into Lafayette territory but two plays later, Maetzold was picked off by Lafayette’s Matt Smalley on the Lafayette 28.
The Leopards moved to the Fordham 24 on the first series of the second half but Jake Rodriques stepped in front of a Reed pass on the Fordham 15 and he returned it to the Fordham 28. But the Rams again couldn’t take advantage of the turnover, going three-and-out on offense.
The game remained 17-7 until Lafayette took over on its own 23 following a Fordham punt with 4:39 left in the third. The Leopards kept it on the ground for most of the drive, gaining 68 of the 77 yards on the ground, capped by a two-yard scoring run from Scheuerman as Lafayette increased its lead to 24-7 with 2:06 left in the period.
Early in the fourth, the Leopards intercepted Maetzold on the Fordham 44 and the Leopards moved to the eleven where Gralish connected on a 29-yard field goal to give Lafayette a 27-7 lead with 8:19 remaining.
Later in the quarter Ian Williams outjumped Ross and came down with an interaction for Fordham on the Rams’ 20. Maetzold moved the offense down to the Lafayette 13 where he connected with Wetzel for their second scoring strike of the game as the Rams pulled to within 13, 27-14, with 2:07 on the clock.
The Rams attempted an onside kick following the score but were called for illegally touching the ball and Lafayette was able to run out the clock.
Maetzold completed 22 of 39 passes for 305 yards and two scores, his second straight 300-yard passing game, with Wetzel catching eight of the passes for 149 yards and Tebucky Jones making five receptions for 54 yards. Koonce gained 92 yards on 17 carries.
Defensively, Hodge led the Rams with nine total tackles, eight solo, and he intercepted a pass while Levon Williams, Ian Williams and Jake Dixon each finished with seven stops.
The Rams close out the regular season next Saturday, November 23, with a trip to Hamilton, N.Y., to face the Colgate University Raiders in Andy Kerr Stadium at 1:00 p.m.
Tags: Fordham, Rams, Football, First Loss