Bronx, NY—The Victory Bell on the Rose Hill campus of Fordham University was repeatedly rung after 4 pm on Saturday afternoon, signifying a Fordham football victory. The Rams have been victorious in all four home games this season.
After trailing Lafayette throughout the first half, the Fordham Rams (6-4) scored the first 17 points of the second half to overtake the visiting Lafayette Leopards (5-5), 36-27, in the penultimate regular season game for both teams.
A touchdown and field goal by the visitors put Lafayette in front by a 10-0 score with 7:49 remaining in the first quarter. The next drive of 72 yards consisted of four rushes by Carlton Koonce that culminated in a one yard touchdown run for the Rams at 6:17.
Koonce continued his success carry the football during the rest of the contest. He gained net total of 189 yards on the ground in 31 carries. The elated senior deflected credit for his accomplishment to the offensive line, “The line did a great job; they executed.” The game was his seventh this season in which he gained more than 100 yards by rushing. His 1,364 rushing yards is the fourth highest in Fordham history. With one game remaining, Koonce needs 113 yards to tie Kirwin Watson for the Ram record.
The two teams each registered a touchdown and a field goal during the second quarter. The Fordham touchdown was recorded on the fifth longest complete pass in Fordham history. Ryan Higgins connected with Brian Wetzel for 89 yards. After the game, the quarterback said, “The long pass was all Brian.” As Higgins was speaking, Wetzel, sitting next to him, was shaking his head in the negative.
The duo combined successfully again at 9:10 of the second half. A five yard completed touchdown pass gave Fordham its first lead in the contest. The drive and the touchdown would not have taken place without an interception by Fordham’s Jake Dixon on the Lafayette 29.
Higgins continued to move upward in the Fordham career rankings in passes, pass completions and yards gained. John Skelton, the starting quarterback of the Arizona Cardinals, whose team was on a bye week, returned to his alma mater to watch his former team play. Higgins said he was encouraged by speaking with Skelton.
The Fordham defense struck again with 39 seconds left in the third as Jordan Chapman ran an intercepted pass 64 yards for Fordham’s fourth touchdown of the game. The absence of the team’s leading tackler, Michael Martin, inspired rather than deflated his fellow. They made three interceptions and sacked the opposing quarterback three times. After the game first year Fordham coach praised the defense, “In the second half, the defense came out and responded to the challenge.”
Patrick Murray, Fordham’s all-purpose kicker, was voted Patriot League Special Teams Player of the week for the last two weeks and six times for the season. The All-America candidate had another fine game on Saturday. He successfully kicked two field goals, 25 and 31 yards respectively, punted five times with an average of 48.4 yards per punt and kicked off seven times with a 64.9 average per kickoff. He also made all four points after touchdown attempts. Murray also raised his Fordham record of field goals in a single season to 23.
Moorhead saluted the seniors on the squad, “I just feel so good for the senior class. They’ve taken the program to new heights this year and set the stage for what we’re going to do in the future.”
The seniors will be honored next Saturday as the Rams face Colgate in the final contest of the year.
Volleyball Victory-Some of the Family Weekend crowd at Fordham walked to the Rose Hill Gym to watch the final volleyball game of the season. The Rams met the Rams of the University of Rhode Island. Two seniors, Michele Keathley and Randi Ewing, were honored before the contest. Members of their families including Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member Patrick Ewing, Randi’s father, were present to support the two young women.
The Rams, as in the recently completed football contest, came from behind to claim victory. Fordham lost the first two sets but rebounded to win the final three sets. Both seniors contributed to the exciting win. Keathley had nine digs; Ewing had six kills and eight blocks. The 6-0 Ewing, wearing #33 like her father, finished her collegiate athletic career with 329 blocks, third in Fordham’s career rankings for blocks.