Late in the fourth quarter Saturday afternoon at Jack Coffey Field, Fordham quarterback Tim DeMorat took possession of the ball after a Lehigh turnover. The crowd at Rose Hill saw the comeback coming.
The Rams ensuing drive, 85 yards on 13 plays, led to receiver Jack Lynch scoring an eleven-yard touchdown reception in the end zone that came from his favorite quarterback and tied the game at 28.
The defense went to work and Fordham regained possession. DeMorat, a senior from Merritt Island Florida, leading the Patriot League in passing, faked a handoff to junior running back Trey Wilson who went to the right and scored the eventual winning touchdown with 1:45 remaining,
This was a comeback 35-28 win for the Rams, their fifth straight. Fordham is 5-3 overall, and their 3-0 record in the Patriot League has them there for the first time since 2016 and sitting atop the standings.
“We felt the energy change, adapted and played good football,” said coach Joe Conlin. His team played a sluggish first half after scoring 66 points last week in a win against Bucknell that tied a school record.
Leave it in the hands of the quarterback, because DeMorat, thrives on the come from behind and late wins. He has become that cult hero up at Rose Hill and the Fordham faithful, coaches, and teammates are never disappointed when their leader has possession of the ball.
The Rams have one of the elite quarterbacks in the nation, though, Fordham does not compete with the major Division 1 college football schools, so DeMorat is not in the national spotlight.
Regardless, he has made headlines with his pass efficiency and ability to guide his team down the field.
The coach also has a quarterback surpassing records of other elite Rams that have played the position, and the opposing defense needs to adjust when DeMorat has the ball in his hands.
“We know what we have to do, when to score,” DeMorat said after the Rams latest win before a much needed and scheduled bye week. “We picked it up late, did what we had to do. That’s all that matters. I always try and stay not too high, too low, do what a quarterback has to do.”
Those instincts of knowing what to do when the Rams have possession is causing a buzz. Last week, DeMorat passed for over 400 yards. He has completed 111 of 169 passes (67.7%) for 1,643 yards and has 18 touchdowns over the past five games in the Fordham wins.
Every game, DeMorat is adding his name to the Fordham and Patriot League record books. He attributes his success to the offensive line and receivers. Records and stats are second, because the ultimate goal is a Patriot League title and a berth for Fordham in the NCAA-FCS playoffs.
“I think we should not worry about the stats,” he said. “Focus one win at a time.”
But it’s that calm and cool demeanor that is also special. On Family Day up at Rose Hill, DeMort came out of the locker room across from Jack Coffey Field after another record breaking game. There was also a meet and greet with his cousin, Lehigh sophomore linebacker Drew DeMorat.
Fordham has a rich history on the gridiron that goes back to the Vince Lombardi era right up through Chase Edmonds establishing the all-time rushing record as a Ram. A fourth round selection for Arizona in the 2018 NFL draft, Edmonds is a regular starter for the Cardinals.
DeMort, though, is not concerned about the NFL for the moment but there are scouts looking and they say he has the arm to be there soon. Right now the mission is focusing on winning the next game at Georgetown in two weeks.
“Focusing on what I got here ,” DeMort said. “Always a dream. The NFL, that’s a goal. I’m not worrying about anything like that right now. Just college right now.”
The week off for the Rams will do DeMort and the team good after a tough eight weeks and getting to where they are. And of course. he is guiding the Fordham Rams to another level and a possible Patriot League title.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/ Rich Mancuso