Monday, September 29, 2014

Fordham Brings Home Ram-Crusader Cup with Win over Holy Cross

Fordham Brings Home Ram-Crusader Cup with Win over Holy Cross

Rams win first Patriot League game of season

BRONX, NEW YORK, SEPTEMBER 29- Holy Cross fans are probably wishing that Fordham senior tight end Dan Light chose to become a Crusader four years ago rather than a Ram as today Light made it a perfect 6-0 all-time in games he’s played at Fitton Field as Fordham upended Holy Cross, 45-16, in a Patriot League matchup and the annual Ram-Crusader Cup game.

With the win, #16/19 Fordham improves to 4-1 overall on the year, 1-0 in the conference, while Holy Cross falls to 2-3 overall, 0-1 in the conference.

Light, who is from nearby Sutton, Mass., is a perfect 2-0 as a Ram on Fitton Field (Fordham defeated Holy Cross 36-32 on the field during his sophomore year in 2012), and he was a perfect 4-0 at St. John’s Prep, who plays is annual Thanksgiving Day game against St. Peter-Marian in Worcester.

Light (four catches, 42 yards and one touchdown) was a part of a potent Fordham offense that gained 493 yards on the day while scoring six touchdowns. Senior quarterback Mike Nebrich had a hand in five of the six scores, completing 32 of 42 passes for 315 yards and four touchdowns while also running for a score. His four passing touchdowns bring his career total to 48, moving him ahead of Kevin Eakin (2000-03) and into second place on the Fordham career list (John Skelton has the record with 69).

His top receiver was Tebucky Jones, Jr., who caught nine passes for 76 yards while Brian Wetzel hauled in eight for a game-high 114 yards and two touchdowns and Marcus Jones made six catches for 66 yards and a touchdown.

On the ground, freshman running back Chase Edmonds carried 26 times for 142 yards and one touchdown, his fourth 100-yard rushing game over the first five games of the year.

Entering the game, head coach Joe Moorhead told the Rams that they needed to convert on third down, score seven points when they make it into the red zone and hold Holy Cross on third downs to get the Fordham offense back on the field. The Rams excelled in all three phases, converting nine of 19 third down (and all four of their fourth down) while scoring six touchdowns on eight red zone trips and holding the Crusaders to converting just two of ten third down tries. Fordham also dominated in time of possession, controlling the ball for 42:10 to just 17:50 for Holy Cross.

Not to be overshadowed, the Fordham defense recorded six tackles for loss, four sacks and intercepted two passes.

After a scoreless first quarter, the Rams drove to the Holy Cross one, converting on two third down plays, but couldn’t punch it in and settled for an 18-yard Michael Marando field goal and a 3-0 lead midway through the second.

After the defense held Holy Cross to a three-and-out, Fordham took over on the Holy Cross 30 following a 17-yard punt. The Rams made quick work of the 30 yards with Nebrich finding Wetzel in the end zone with a nine-yard touchdown toss for a 10-0 Fordham lead with 5:15 left in the half. The big play of the drive was an 18-yard completion from Nebrich to Marcus Jones on fourth-and-seven from the Holy Cross 27.

Another three-and-out for the Holy Cross offense resulted in the Rams getting the ball back on their own 35 and Nebrich went to work, sandwiching two completions around a ten-yard Edmonds run to put the ball on the Holy Cross 20.  Edmonds covered the final 20 yards with three carries, the last an eight-yard scoring rush to make it a 17-0 game with 52 seconds remaining before the break.

Holy Cross managed to drive to the Fordham 20 in 48 seconds but the drive stalled there and Zane Wasp kicked a 37-yard field goal that just cleared the cross bar.

On the second play of the second half, Ian Williams almost picked off a Peter Pujals pass but Holy Cross receiver Jake Wieczorek managed to wrestle the ball from Williams and score on a 74-yard pass play as Holy Cross made it an eight-point game, 17-9, when the Rams blocked the Crusaders extra point attempt.

The Fordham offense quickly got the touchdown back, driving 75 yards in 10 plays with Nebrich finding Light in the end zone with an eight-yard scoring strike to extend the Fordham lead to 24-9 with 9:43 left in the third.

The Fordham defense forced another three-and-out and the offense took over on the Fordham 41. The Rams were stopped on third down and Joseph Pavlik came on to punt. He fumbled the snap but was able to recover and race around the left side, picking up 15 yards and a first down. Edmonds carried it down to the Holy Cross four on the next play and, two plays later, Nebrich took it in from the four to give the Rams a 31-9 lead with 5:07 remaining in the third.

Early in the fourth, Jake Dixon picked off a Pujals pass at the Fordham 40 and returned it to the Holy Cross 29. Six plays later, Nebrich and Marcus Jones teamed up for a five-yard scoring strike to give Fordham a commanding 38-9 lead 3:24 into the fourth.

The Crusaders made it a 38-16 game when Pujals connected with Tyler Artim on a 27-yard touchdown pass with 10:29 remaining but the Rams stopped Pujals on fourth-and-five from the Holy Cross 47 on the Crusaders’ next possession.

Fordham took advantage of the good field position, covering the 41 yards in seven plays, capping the drive with a 25-yard pass from Nebrich to Wetzel with 2:35 on the clock.

Victor DiFusco led the Fordham defense with seven tackles, six solo, including one sack, while DeAndre Slate made four solo stops, including two sacks, and Dixon had three solo tackles to go with his interception.

The Rams return to action on Friday night, October 3, as they host the Lafayette College Leopards in a Patriot League game on Jack Coffey Field at 6:30 PM in a game that will be televised nationally by the CBS Sports Network.

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