What a difference a week makes and that held true at Rose Hill Saturday afternoon for the Fordham University football Rams. Last week the execution was off and new head coach Andrew Breiner saw that in an opening season loss to Navy.
The 52-16 loss was not a good start for Fordham that has been the winningest New York area football team since 2012 with 38 wins. Breiner was there under the Joe Moorhead regime which included the past five years as the pass game coordinator and quarterback coach the past four.
So with Columbia University off the schedule, Fordham got some type of reprieve for their home opener Saturday afternoon against Elizabeth City State, a division two opponent out of the CIAA Conference.
Oh what a difference a week makes as Fordham scored early and often. They set school and Patriot League records in points and a Rose Hill scoring record with an easy 83-21 win. No matter who the opponent, they executed and next week get to rest with an early bye week on the schedule.
This type of win, and in their second game was a confidence builder, and you can say that despite the inferior competition. The test comes in two weeks when the University of Pennsylvania visits Rose Hill.
And the Rams, known for that high scoring offense expect the momentum to continue. The bye week came in the next to last game last season, the second consecutive year the Rams had a postseason bid to the Division 1-AA Playoffs.
“I know that the expectations around the program are high,” said Breiner. “They should be. I tell people we don’t shy away from those expectations. Taking over from coach Moorehead, a tremendous football man, I worked everyday with him for seven years. A lot of the same things, are here. The foundation, a different voice but same idea.”
And in any sport, a coaching change means there is transition. But that does not apply to this Fordham offense that saw three of their runners finish with over 100-yards in rushing.
Chase Edmonds, a 2016 preseason All-American and preseason Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year continued where he left off last season. He rushed for 155-yards on 19 carries, and a touchdown. Kendall Pearcey had 115-yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.
They were not greedy as D’Angelo Palladino added 166 yards on 19-carries. Quarterback Kevin Anderson who targets Edmonds, and often, threw for 225 yards and four touchdowns. Fordham set a school and Patriot League record with 17 points in PAT’s made in a game, and Makay Redd converted two field goals of 42 and 37 yards.
But the most important thing, Fordham got the win at home and they executed. It’s something they worked on during the week as they prepared for a day that was hot and humid and not the best conditions for a September football game in the Bronx.
“We learned from the mistakes,” said Breiner. “ We had a lot of execution. The focus of this league is to execute. We did that today. We have to execute at a high level no matter who is out there.”
And no matter how inferior Elizabeth City was to the Rams, that Navy team last week had a similar attitude in Annapolis Maryland.
“They looked at us as the inferior opponent,” Edmonds said about Navy. “We kind of looked at Elizabeth as the inferior opponent. A good test for us and real significant to look down at an opponent and have to play your best football. All good teams have to play at this level no matter who the opponent is.”
There is no telling what the impact will be regarding the early bye week. Two games into the season, Fordham has no significant injuries and Edmonds is healthy after playing hurt with a bad quad in the final games of last year.
“Changes the emphasis,” said Breiner about the one week hiatus on the schedule, and how it comes early this time around. “Bye week is about getting healthy, improving fundamentals and technique. With Penn there are no expectations.”
Except there is that expectation to win another game, and for Fordham to score a lot of points. They are 22-2 since 2012 at home, and Penn is not Elizabeth City State that was that option school on the schedule.
“Me and Kevin (Anderson) feel we should put up 40 points against anybody we play no matter who is on the schedule,” said Edmonds. “That’s a very high standard we hold ourselves accountable to that standard. We have the coaching, we have the talent.”
And that talent showed at Jack Coffey Field on Saturday. Most of all, nothing has changed with the coaching philosophy and that speaks volumes for the Fordham Rams.
Scoring 83 points in a game, that’s a rarity. Winning though up at Rose Hill, that is expected and these Rams feel this will be another special season.
Comment Rich Mancuso: [email protected] Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso