They rang the Rams bell after their win at Jack Coffey Field up at Rose Hill Saturday afternoon. This Fordham University football team won their home finale on senior day with a hard fought 24-20 win over Colgate and they were not aware until the final play that their win was a loss.
With Lehigh winning their game over Bucknell, the Rams were eliminated from taking the Patriot League title. Even if Fordham wins their remaining two games the chances of getting an at large bid to the FCS playoffs are minimal.
Regardless of the outcome, this win and loss on the same day does take away the accomplishments of seniors from a recruiting class that played a significant role of bringing football prominence back to Rose Hill. There was a mission first established from former coach Joe Moorhead who is now at Penn State as an assistant on offense.
And it continued when Andrew Breiner learned the system under Moorhead in his first year. He said the loss to Lehigh last week made the task difficult. There had to be things that went in favor of the Rams, a Lehigh loss and three straight wins for Fordham would get them to their mission again of taking the Patriot League title.
Said Breiner, who admitted knowing nothing about the Lehigh outcome: Number one football goal for us is to always win the Patriot League . We fell short and disappointed but know the odds were against us.”
The odds became more difficult last week when his team allowed 58 points to Lehigh. The Rams did not show up to play, as it appeared, and the task ahead was to defeat Colgate who beat them before heading to the Division 1 FCS playoffs.
So as the Rams prepare for their annual Ram/Crusader Cup game next Saturday against Holy Cross at Yankee Stadium, there is still a mission. Yankee Stadium has that history as does football up at Rose Hill, and they know the chances of winning two more games does not guarantee they will be a part of the playoff picture.
“To come out and play the game we played today shows the character,” said Breiner and he referred to his team not knowing the Lehigh outcome that put an end to any hopes of a Patriot League title.
His team played as hard as they could, more so in the second half and Breiner said, “They played as hard as you can for sixty minutes.”
Kevin Anderson threw for three touchdown passes and the game winner to Robbie Cantelli with 4:55 remaining showed that character. Cantelli, one of those seniors, caught the 20-yard pass in back of the end zone, one of his two touchdowns that completed the 10-point comeback and tenth straight win at home.
Yes, it was satisfaction for Cantelli, a walk-on who fought his way back after tearing his ACL in the Colgate game last year. But in his mind, and for the coach and his teammates, coming up short for a Patriot League title was not in the plan.
“They ended our chance for a Patriot League title last year,” said Cantelli. “This was a game we needed to get back. Whether we had a chance to win the title or not, I’m going to be out there and give everything I have.”
He said, Anderson made a great pass for the game winner. And despite the struggle against a Colgate team that came in with the fourth best defense in Division 1, Fordham showed their character without knowing that next week would be a significant game but not for the Patriot League title.
Perhaps the past few weeks a defense that failed was their culprit. Or it was the ineffectiveness of Chase Edmonds, the school career rushing leader who failed to score a touchdown for the fourth straight game and caused an early fourth quarter fumble that did no harm.
Because Anderson and Cantelli provided the late game drama the loss to Lehigh last week was reason to feel defeated. Fordham got a win and another one at home, however the highlight now for this football team is next Saturday afternoon at Yankee Stadium.