After two straight weeks playing south of the Mason-Dixon line, Fordham finally returned to Rose Hill for their 2018 home opener. While the setting was different, the results were the same as once again the Rams came up short in virtually every facet of the game. The mismatch was especially true in the trenches where Stony Brook rolled through Fordham’s porous defense and smothered their one dimensional offense. For a third straight game the Rams surrendered over 200 yards of rushing. More alarmingly, if possible, for a third straight game the Rams were held to negative yards rushing. This time it was Stony Brook’s “Thunder & Lightning” halfback tandem of Jordan Gowins and Donald Liotine who did the most damage in the Seawolves 28-6 romp. The two seniors combined for 266 yards on the ground and nearly 8 yards per carry while the Rams responded with literally less than nothing.
As if a continuation of last week’s 52-7 debacle, Fordham opened with a pick-six just four plays into the contest. From there however the Rams did a decent job of bouncing back. In front of a near capacity crowd they even got the better of play for most of the first quarter. Following the early turnover, senior quarterback Luke Medlock, looked sharp in engineering three straight drives with at least one first down. The first of the three drives took Fordham to Stony Brook’s 32 before ending with another interception, although this one off a deflection. The next two also got Fordham to midfield before stalling. Even so, it was enough to win the field position battle as Fordham’s defense kept the Seawolves at bay. In fact, towards the end of the first quarter Stony Brook had been limited to just 16 yards (all Gowins runs) of offense. Then the lightning part of the equation caught fire. Two big runs by Liotine brought Stony Brook to midfield where Joe Carbone, Stony Brook’s fullback-sized quarterback, called his own number in keeping the drive alive on a key fourth & one. That play proved pivotal as it was the first sign Stony Brook’s offensive line would dominate. Soon later Carbone used his arm to further soften defenders, including a 26 yard strike to Nick Anderson, which put the guests up by two scores. Tyriek Hopkins fumbled the ensuing kickoff and two plays later Gowins found pay dirt while giving the Seawolves a 21-0 second quarter lead.
Hopkins, a Florida transfer, fumbled the next kickoff as well although Fordham was lucky to recover. Still, for all intent and purpose, the game was over. The energy at Jack Coffey Field was zapped as Medlock spent the remainder of the second quarter running for his life. A diverse set of Stony Brook blitzes, which attacked from all angles, kept Medlock off balance as the best Fordham could do was not commit any further turnovers. Gowins and Liotine took it from there although one drive was foiled by penalties and another, just before the half, by a missed field goal. The Seawolves would get back on the scoreboard soon later however, as on the second half’s first play from scrimmage, Liotine dashed his way for a 75 yard break to put the visitors up 28-0. Another Stony Brook missed field goal and a turnover on downs kept the score closer than it should have been even as Gowins continued to knife through Fordham’s defensive line with one punishing run after another. Meanwhile Fordham spent drive-after-drive not driving. Even on an Arena gridiron the Rams would have been shutout as they spent the entire second and third stanzas unable to cross the 50.
The fourth quarter was spent tinkering. With their second unit in, Stony Brook went with the pistol formation at times and the triple option at others while treating things more like a glorified scrimmage. Fordham too did some tinkering as once again freshman QB Tim DeMorat came in for mop-up duty. DeMorat did finally get the Rams back into Stony Brook territory although his opening drive ended with another interception. Unfazed by his first career pick, the gunslinger continued throwing deep before finding Corey Caddle in the end zone for his first career touchdown and Fordham’s only score of the game. Andrew Mevis missed the extra point although, DeMorat aside, he proved to be Fordham’s lone bright spot in punting for a 41.9 average on 10 tries.
After UNC-Charlotte (an FBS team) and two nationally ranked FCS squads in Richmond and Stony Brook, Fordham’s schedule gets noticeably easier going forward. Still, they’ll need more than a punter and backup quarterback to keep this season from slipping away completely. The 0-3 start should not come as a surprise. Being outscored 114 to 23 should. Even in a rebuilding year few expected both lines to be as knocked around as they’ve been. Unless that aspect changes, even a softer schedule won’t change final results all that much.