Fordham Retains Liberty Cup
Rams defeat Columbia for fifth straight year
BRONX, NEW YORK (SPORTS)- In each of his four years at Fordham, head football coach Joe Moorhead has set three goals for the Rams. The first involves retaining the Liberty and Ram‐Crusader Cups and Fordham checked off Liberty Cup retention today as the Rams upended Columbia University, 44‐24, on Jack Coffey Field as part of Homecoming 2015.
The win is Fordham’s sixth in a row over the Lions and the Rams now lead the all‐time Liberty Cup series, 10‐4.
The Fordham offense compiled a season‐high 537 yards of total offense, while running just 69 plays, and scored a season‐best 44 points.
Looking for offensive heroes? Fordham had plenty of them on Saturday. First there was junior quarterback Kevin Anderson, who completed 22 of 30 passes for 330 yards and five touchdowns. Or maybe Chase Edmonds, who rushed 13 times for 125 yards and one score and caught five passes for 45 yards and another touchdown? Perhaps senior tight end Phazahn Odom, who hauled in five passes for 94 yards and two touchdowns? Then again there was senior wide receiver Robbie Cantelli who made a highlight reel one‐handed touchdown catch.
The game got off on the wrong foot for Anderson who had a pass tipped and intercepted on the third play of the game on the Fordham 26. But Columbia couldn’t take advantage of the miscue as a 41‐yard Cameron Nizialek field goal attempt went wide right.
Later in the first, the Rams took over on their own 35 following a punt and moved to midfield where Anderson found Jonathan Lumley for a 22‐yard gain and, on the next play, found Odom over the middle for a 28‐yard scoring strike with 3:50 left in the quarter.
The Lions came right back to tie the game on a five‐yard run early in the second but the Rams then capped a 75‐yard, ten‐play drive with a three‐yard scoring pass from Anderson to Austin Longi with 9:29 left in the half.
A 31‐yard Nizialek field goal on Columbia’s next possession pulled the visitors within four, 14‐10, but the Rams executed a perfect two minute offense, taking over on their own 46 following a punt with 32 seconds left and completing a 25‐yard pass to Lumley and a 22‐yarder to Longi to put the ball on the Columbia seven. On second and goal, Anderson led a diving Cantelli perfectly and Cantelli came up with a diving, one‐hand scoring grab to give Fordham a 21‐10 halftime lead.
On Fordham’s first possession of the second half, Edmonds took care of business himself, gaining 73 yards on a first down carry to put the ball on the Columba one and then scoring on the next play to boost the Fordham lead to 18, 28‐10, 4:20 into the second half.
The 18‐point lead was short‐lived as Alan Watson returned the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for a score to make it a 28‐17 game.
Later in the third, Skyler Mornhinwig capped an 80‐yard, 15‐play drive with a one‐yard scoring plunge to pull the Lions within four, 28‐24, with 1:48 remaining in the third.
Fordham responded by moving the ball to the Columbia 37 but a holding penalty backed them up to midfield where Anderson found Cantelli with a 47‐yard connection to put the ball on the Columbia one. Two plays later Anderson hit Edmonds with a three‐yard touchdown toss to extend the Fordham lead to 34‐24.
After the Fordham defense held Columbia to a three‐and‐out, the Rams took over on the Fordham 12 and the Rams marched to the Columbia 26 where an offensive pass interference call pushed them back to the Lions’ 41. But Anderson connected with Odom for a second scoring strike on the day on the next play to put the Rams up 41‐24 midway through the fourth.
Makay Redd closed out the scoring with a 34‐yard field goal with 3:19 left for the 44‐24 final.
Jihaad Pretlow led the Fordham defense with 13 total tackles, six solo, including one for loss, and he also broke up a pass, while Stephen Hodge finished with eleven stops, three solo, including 0.5 for loss.
The Rams return to action next Saturday, September 26, as they host the Monmouth University Hawks on Jack Coffey Field at 1:00 p.m.
The Liberty Cup trophy will now remain at Rose Hill for the foreseeable future as the two teams will no longer play each other every year.
The win continues a streak of wins after losses during the Moorhead era. The Rams have never lost back‐to‐back games under Moorhead.
Fordham is 18‐2 over the past three years when playing on Jack Coffey Field, winning 15 of the last 16.
The game was the 16th in which the Rams scored more than 40 points since 2012 (when Moorhead became head coach).
Edmonds’s 125 rushing yards brings his career total to 2,163, eighth on the Fordham career rushing list while his rushing touchdown gives him four on the year and 27 in his career, tied for fourth most in school history.
Edmonds’ 125‐yard rushing performance was his 12th career 100‐yard game, third all‐time at Fordham.
Anderson’s five touchdown passes was one shy of the school record set by Kevin Eakin at Rhode Island in 2003 and matched by Mike Nebrich against Penn last year.
Seven different receivers caught at least one pass today, four of them true freshmen.
Pretlow also returned three kickoffs for 79 yards, including one for 54 yards.
Fordham sophomore offensive lineman Anthony Coyle celebrated his 19th birthday on Saturday.
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