The Ram-Crusader Cup is a rivalry built on history and the legend of Major Frank W. Cavanaugh, who was the head coach for both the Fordham Rams and Holy Cross Crusaders.
Chase Edmonds added to that illustrious history and his own legendary career at Fordham as his 27 yards run in the first quarter gave him the record for most rushing yards in Patriot League history as Fordham lost to Holy Cross 42-20 Saturday afternoon at Rose Hill.
Edmonds made his return after missing three weeks with a leg injury and his presence was felt early rushing for 54 yards and 2 first-half touchdowns.
“I grabbed him right when he came off the field and I just congratulated him, told him that I am very proud of him and said Let’s go win the game,” said coach Andrew Breiner. “
“To have his name at the top of that record book, and someday somebody will break it but for the time being, Chase cements himself as one of the best players to ever play in the Patriot League,” he added.
The Crusaders came into this game 27-25-2 in this series with Fordham and 16-15 since the creation of Ram-Crusader Cup. They would go on to add another win to the record that ended a Fordham five- game Crusader Cup win streak.
Fordham won the toss and elected to receive and got off to a fast start completing their first two passes for a first down. But things quickly turned-around when Holy Cross forced a sack-fumble which linebacker Nick McBeath scooped up for a 61-yard touchdown.
On the play, Kevin Anderson who was sacked from the blind-side stayed on the ground for a while before walking off under his own power. Anderson would return and lead the Rams on two scoring drives. But he would later be knocked out of the game in the second quarter following another hit from the back while rolling out of the pocket.
“He’s (Kevin) disappointed and he was emotional when he came out of the tent the second time and he had his pads off, cause he’s such a competitor, such a fighter and he was fighting with everything; he had to stay in that game,” said Coach Breiner.
Edmonds, receiver Austin Longi and the Rams defense did a great job of keeping the Rams in the game as they would go to halftime tied at 14 apiece. But the second half was a different story, as the Crusaders would dominate the Rams in all facets of the game.
“We came in at halftime and I told the football team at that point it’s a zero-zero game, and for the next 30 minutes Holy Cross beat us in all three phases of the game as soundly and decisively as you can, ” said Breiner.
The interception gave the Crusaders the ball at their own one-yard line with the game still close. After almost getting tackled for a safety, Holy Cross would drive down the field 99 yards for a touchdown to take a 28-14 lead.
The Rams defense who only allowed one touchdown in the first half and forced a fumble at the goal line were unable to stop the rushing attack by the Crusaders in the second half. Gabe Guild would finish as the leading rusher for both teams with 107 yards and a touchdown.
“I did not see anything on the field that they changed as far as scheme, they ran the scheme we anticipated them to run,” said Breiner. “We got physically beat and when it comes to run defense it comes down to physicality and tackling and they were more physical than we were.”
The Crusaders running backs and quarterback Peter Pujals would combine for 325 yards rushing while the Rams finished with 148 combined rushing yards, 63 of which came from Edmonds.
“He (Chase) had that explosiveness to him today and the ability to make guys miss, unfortunately just too often that Holy Cross was able to get defenders in the backfield and not even give Chase a chance to get going.”
It was clear that Chase Edmonds became the main focus of the Crusader defense with Anderson out of the game. Edmonds was unable to break free for a big gain after his 27 yards run in the first half.
Coach Briener would give Luke Medlock a chance at quarterback on the second drive of the half. His first throw of the game was a 49-yard pass to Austin Longi to get the Rams in the red zone. But the drive stalled and would end in the Rams turning the ball over on downs.
Fordham has one game remaining after a bye week on the schedule. They host Bucknell in two weeks at Rose Hill in their season finale.