Fordham Drops Final Football Contest of 2011 to Holy Cross, 41-21; Coach Tom Masella Fired

Senior Day ceremonies were held at Coffey Field on Saturday afternoon before the contest between the Fordham Rams (1-10)and the Holy Cross Crusaders (6-5). The Ram-Crusader Cup was awarded to Holy Cross for its 41-21 victory. The trophy honors the memory of Frank Cavanaugh, who was the football coach at both colleges in the early 20th century. The trophy is awarded to the winner of the contest between the two schools. It has been given 26 times since its inception in 1951.

The Crusaders marched from their own 26 yard line to record the first score of the game. Senior quarterback Ryan Taggart connected with a fellow senior, Charles McCall, for a 5 yard touchdown at 11:03. Fordham’s Ryan Higgins knotted the score with a 44 yard touchdown pass at 5:14. The same Fordham duo combined for a second touchdown of 40 yards less than four minutes later. All the extra points were kicked successfully. Fordham led 14-7 at the end of the first quarter.

Taggart connected for his second TD pass of the contest at the conclusion of the first drive of the Crusaders. Jon Smith caught the 25 yard pass at 14:06. The game remained tied at 14 until the closing seconds of the first half. An 80 yard drive culminated in Fordham’s third touchdown as Calvin Koonce carried the ball six yards with 37 seconds left in the half. Fordham led at the halfway mark, 21-14, for the first time this season.

The only score in the third was executed on a 71 yard touchdown pass from Taggart to Kyle Toulouse at 8:03.

The game stayed knotted at 21 until 10:33 in the fourth as Taggart ran the ball across the goal line. The Crusaders did further damage on the ground throughout the final period. Eddie Houghton ran the football for 99 yards in the fourth including two touchdown runs that brought the final score to 41-21.

In the morning of the game, Fordham head coach Masella said he was informed he would be relieved of his duties at Fordham. The good hearted and good humored professional said he was not bitter or angry. He explained his biggest regret of his six years at Fordham, “The one thing I couldn’t do here was change the culture here and that culture has to change.”

He also spoke of an accomplishment that made him proud, “I’m most proud that we’re graduating our players. For me, doing it in the right way is as important as anything.”

Masaella headed the Fordham football program for the past six years. He has been head football coach for a longer period than any Fordham coach except one, Larry Glueck, since the program ceased being a club program again in 1970. Masella predicted he would be coaching again in the near future and hoped he would be a head coach.

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