This article originally appeared in The Fordham Ram in November 2018.
Fordham’s football team did not send its seniors off right on Saturday.
The Rams lost 41-0 to Colgate University; the result earned Colgate, the 11th-ranked team in the country, at least a share of the Patriot League title while the Rams fell to 1-8 in what Fordham coach Joe Conlin called an “unforgivable” effort on senior day.
“We didn’t execute today,” Conlin said. “We didn’t play the type of football that I want us to play. It’s not what Fordham Football is going to be, so to send these seniors off on a performance like that, to me, is unforgivable.”
A Colgate team that had given up six total points in its last six games heading into the day imposed itself on Fordham’s offense. Freshman quarterback Tim DeMorat was sacked eight times and the Rams were outgained 562-28 in total offense on the afternoon.
Colgate picked up a first down on the first play of the afternoon with a 10-yard scamper from quarterback Grant Brenaman, but Fordham’s defense held strong and forced a punt. Fordham was heading towards a similar fate on their first drive, but a shotgun snap from senior center Dominic Lombard went astray, and Colgate recovered the loose ball at Fordham’ eight-yard-line. Two plays later, the Raiders took advantage with a four-yard touchdown run from James Holland, Jr. to put Colgate in front 7-0 just 3:43 into the game.
Fordham continued to struggle on the next possession, with two DeMorat incompletions and a three-yard run from junior running back Tyriek Hopkins. In two drives and six plays, Fordham had just a punt and a lost fumble to its offensive ledger. Colgate also went three-and-out on the next possession, in part due to a false start penalty on third down and short yardage. Fordham had more issues on the ensuing possession and nearly lost another fumble on another poor snap from Lombard. TySean Sizer’s punt return put the Raiders near midfield.
On the first play of the next drive, Holland, Jr. busted loose once more. He took off on a run up the middle, broke through the hole and beat the Fordham defense for 52 yards and a score. The score gave Colgate a 14-0 lead with 5:56 left in the first quarter.
Fordham moved the chains on the next drive for the first time in the afternoon, but was unable to do anything else and punted from its own 37-yard-line.
Colgate then marched downfield to Fordham’s 26, but Holland, Jr. fumbled and senior Antonio Jackson, in his last home game in a Rams uniform, recovered and brought it back to the Colgate side of the field. Fordham, however, went in the wrong direction with a two-yard loss from running back Naim Mayfield and a ten-yard loss on a sack by Colgate’s Coco Coleman.
Colgate did not fail to take advantage of Fordham’s offensive ineptitude.
The next drive started with three runs from Holland, Jr. and an acrobatic 24-yard catch from tight end Nick Diaco. Running back Alex Matthews took it down to the one-yard-line on the next play, and took it to the house one play later. With 11:37 left in the first half, Colgate led 21-0 and showed why it was the 11th-ranked team in FCS heading into the afternoon.
The next drive followed the same pattern for Fordham: short run, incompletion, sack, punt, and Colgate got it back on their own 39.
Conlin said protecting the quarterback will be a top priority for the team as the year winds down.
“Every week, we cannot sustain drives,” he said. “We gotta do a better job of protecting the quarterback and being a little more consistent on the ground.”
Even if you take DeMorat’s eight sacks out of the equation, Fordham only rushed for 33 yards on the afternoon. Hopkins and freshman Naim Mayfield combined for just 16 yards on the day.
Both teams traded punts on each of their next drives. Colgate continued to do whatever it wanted on the next drive, as a 23-yard strike to Owen Rockett got Colgate to the Fordham 10. The Raiders punched it in the end zone on the next play on a short pass to running back Malik Twyman, but a chop block by Rockett knocked Colgate back 15 yards. Eventually, the Patriot League leaders settled from a 28-yard field goal from Chris Puzzi to make it 24-0 with 4:38 to play in the first half.
The Rams were able to get a first down on the next drive on a 10-yard connection from DeMorat to senior receiver Corey Caddle. Disaster struck on the next play, though, as DeMorat was intercepted by Ben Hunt on a throw over the middle.
“Timmy probably had his worst day,” Conlin said. “He’s not using his legs like he used to, and there are times when he just doesn’t have a chance. Other times, he’s not using his legs like he did so well against Central Connecticut and Bryant. You’ve got a 17, 18-year-old kid going up against one of the best defenses in the country, and a really well-coached defense, so he’s gonna have struggles.”
After the pick, Colgate was faced with a fourth-and-four at the Fordham 25 and quarterback Grant Breneman converted with a 23-yard toss to Rockett. Breneman kept it on a read option for a touchdown on the next play to make it 31-0 Raiders, and that would be the score heading into the locker room.
The second half started with more of the same, and despite a pretty 15-yard throw from DeMorat to senior Isaiah Searight, Fordham punted for the seventh time in the game. The Rams got a stop on the next possession, but their offense still could not get anything going. After a completion to Austin Longi on second down, DeMorat endured his fifth sack of the day at the hands of Colgate’s Dillon DeIuliis.
The Raiders completed a third-down pass for 29 yards to Rockett on the next possession. Sacks by freshman Ryan Greenhagen and sophomore Glenn Cunningham with Colgate inside the 10 forced the Raiders to kick another field goal from 43 yards, and Puzzi had his field goal blocked and returned to the Fordham 45 by Anthony Diodato.
Fordham crossed midfield for the first time in the half with an 18-yard throw from DeMorat to Searight. Fordham stalled at that point, and the Rams were stopped on fourth-and-10 from the Colgate 37.
Fordham almost got it back on the next play, however, as Glenn Cunningham forced a fumble from Holland, Jr. and Ryan Greenhagen made the recovery. However, the initial ruling that Holland was down stood, and the Raiders kept the ball. Malik Twyman ended the drive with a seven-yard run to make it 38-0 Colgate early in the fourth. Fordham punted on the next drive.
Twyman added insult to injury on the next possession with a 55-yard sprint on a beleaguered Fordham defense. Colgate’s drive stalled, and kicker Chris Puzzi barely made a 35-yard field goal into the teeth of the wind to make it 41-0 Raiders with 8:54 to play, and that would be the final score.
When everything was said and done from Jack Coffey Field, Fordham had punted it 11 times, lost 50 yards in the running game and earned just over half a yard per play. Conlin was particularly frustrated with his team’s performance in both the run and pass games.
“If you’re inconsistent in two phases, the call sheet starts to look like a foreign language,” Conlin said. “We gotta do a better job of executing, we can’t have these unforced errors and bad snaps and stuff like that. That stuff’s unacceptable, and that’s the mark of a bad team and obviously, we can’t have that stuff if we want to be a good team.”
The Fordham Rams are not a good team. They have been officially eliminated from any chance at contending for a Patriot League title this season, and this outcome was several weeks in the making. The Rams faced one of the best teams in the country on Saturday, and were thoroughly out-classed in every phase of the game.
Fordham has two more games this season against Holy Cross and Bucknell; both will be on the road. The Rams have an opportunity to salvage a lost season with better performances at those venues the next two weeks.
After Saturday’s blowout, it would be nearly impossible for the Rams to sink lower.