After last week’s travel problems with landing in Charlotte, and then a pregame lightening storm, the question was; when would the Fordham game ever start? This week, particularly during a nightmare third quarter, the question became; when would the Fordham game ever end?
Things began innocently enough for the Rams who, by bussing it to Richmond, shaved off an hour from the previous week’s 9 hour mission. Pregame clouds dissipated too as weather was ideal by kickoff. Unfortunately for Fordham, it was all south after that. Due in part to a reshuffled offensive line and injuries to both halfback Zach Davis and halfback D’Angelo Palladino, the visitors opened with four straight three-and-outs. In that time they could only muster a grand total of ten offensive yards as Cardi B proved to be the only Bronxite packing any punch this weekend. The defense, particularly the front seven, kept things momentarily close but by the first few minutes of the second quarter even that moment was lost. Already up 7-0, Richmond’s option quarterback, Kevin Johnson, broke things open with a two play, 62 yard drive early in the second. First, Johnson aired things out with a 55 yard bomb to Dejon Brissett. Then, he followed with a 7 yard scamper that would prove to be all the Spiders would need while taking a 14-0 lead. By that point Fordham still hadn’t registered a first down. The Rams did move the ball shortly later but, even in dinking-and-dunking their way into Richmond territory, things already seemed futile. With a nonexistent ground attack and even worse pass blocking, all quarterback Luke Medlock could do was throw quick screens and hope for some positive “yards after catch” numbers. It wasn’t enough to get Fordham into the red zone, let alone the end zone, but it did somewhat limit Richmond possessions. But just somewhat as a 36 yard Johnson-to-Brissett connection later set up a chip shot to put the hosts up by 17. With third string halfback Tyriek Hopkins adding to Fordham’s YAC totals, the Rams answered with their own field goal attempt just before the half. Despite plenty of leg, Andrew Mevis’ 47 yard blast was just wide right as the score remained 17-0 entering the break.
It’s not as if the halftime score should have been closer, not with Fordham’s one dimensional, checkdown offense and a secondary so easy to burn they needed their own flammable labels, but it could have been. Even the option of staying close was gutted after the third quarter’s opening play from scrimmage. Yet another Johnson-to-Brissett hookup, this one for 75 yards, made it 24-0 before most at Robins Stadium could even get back to their seats. With few alternatives Fordham reverted to their screen passes but a 5 yard snag by Corey Caddle turned into a fumble as the slotback was swallowed up and spit out by defensive end, Maurice Jackson. Already in excellent field position, Johnson returned to work and capped his night with a nine yard touchdown toss to Cortrelle Simpson, putting the Spiders up 31-0. Johnson, Simpson and Brissett all left the game while seemingly ending Fordham’s “Quarter from Hell.” Little did the Rams know, the horror show was just beginning. Medlock looked to open things up while desperate for something positive. Instead, he took two sacks and was picked off twice (one interception returned two yards shy of being a pick-six) as Fordham was suddenly facing one of its worst beatdowns ever. Each backwards offensive drive was followed by a defense in full wilt mode. Unable to stop backup QB Joe Mancuso, Fordham’s D appeared to do what it was best known for last year, giving up. Even Fordham’s official Twitter account called it quits after Mancuso’s first touchdown drive made it 38-0. His second drive featured his only attempted throw of the night, a 29 yard touchdown pass to Caleb Drake. His third, following the near pick-six, was simply a two yard run right down Fordham’s throat as, after three, Richmond was up by an obscene 52-0 score. By that point Richmond out-gained Fordham 505 yards to 113 and had as many touchdowns, 7, as the Rams had first downs.
Even with a new coach, new system and new outlook, it was the same old story for Fordham. The team that had fallen 64-6 last year at Army was down 52 with still an entire quarter left. Without a mercy rule in college football that final stanza would have to be played. Of the 8,000 in attendance maybe 800 stuck around for it. Hopefully a few of those 800 were family members of Tim DeMorat because he offered a tiny ray of light in an otherwise abysmally brutal night. The backup QB managed to put Fordham on the board, albeit against Richmond’s second and third stringers, and looked good doing so. From a strong arm, to poise in the pocket, to even a Richmond-like ability to scramble, the true freshman showed signs of a bright future. That’s not to say there will be a quarterback change at Rose Hill. But for a contest that could have been called at 14-0, and should have ended once Kevin Johnson took off his helmet, Tim DeMorat gave the Rams a sliver of hope going forward. He also gave Fordham fans the faintest of reasons to stay with a game that a quarter earlier couldn’t have ended soon enough. Whether it be next week, or later in the season, DeMorat could prove that these are not the same old Rams.