Up at Rose Hill in the Bronx, quarterback CJ Montes has been throwing passes and hitting his targets. He threw another touchdown pass Saturday afternoon at newly named Moglia Stadium at Jack Coffey Field
Montes has been the playmaker, with one touchdown pass in each of the first six games. His total of 17 this season in five career starts are the most for any Fordham quarterback. But it was the kicker who was the difference as the Rams got a 38-35 win over Lehigh on homecoming weekend as they dedicated their field in the name of Joe Mogila, award winning football coach and fourth alumnus honored with the Fordham Founder’s Award.
And now the Rams, (4-2, 1-1 Patriot League) have a viable kicker as another playmaker who made a difference in this win. Brandon Peskin kicked a career-long 45-yard field goal as time expired and on the gridiron, they call that a beauty.
Essential is Fordham’s ability to pass. Montes has proved that with his third, 300-yard passing game of the season. Important is the ability to run the ball and Julius Loughridge recorded his third 100-yard rushing game of the year and eighth of his career. In the second half, MJ Wright caught seven passes for 61 yards, three catches for 40 yards in the first half.
And the Rams defense has been so efficient that it has become a playmaker which forced third downs, though coach Joe Conlin this week will seek ways to reduce penalties that put Lehigh in position that cost the Rams yards.
But the kicker is now an important part of the Fordham offense, and no better than he was on that career long game winning three points. Peskin could be the difference down the line. as the Rams continue to seek a Patriot League title, and another weapon to putting points on the board. His previous long field goal was 42-yards in a Fordham 40-37 win over Buffalo in their third game of the season.
“Actually thought it came off my foot pretty good,” Peskin said with a smile about his first game winning moment. “We do preparation on Wednesday, run down the field, get a lot of pressure practicing.”
Basically, this was that unexpected situation that could have gone either way for the senior from Melville, New York. Montes threw a 44-yard TD pass to Wright in the fourth quarter and Peskin followed with two field goals in the final minute to tie and win the game.
Peskin, though, was ready for that game winning moment as the Rams went 62 yards in 52 seconds to get them in field goal range. Fordham compiled 594 offensive yards and if it weren’t for two turnovers, perhaps Peskin does not get the opportunity.
Regardless, the Rams have been taking advantage of their opportunities that has them fourth in the Patriot League standings, and Peskin has converted 9-of-10 field goal attempts. He and Conlin planned to celebrate in different ways with family and alumni on homecoming weekend and surely the winning field goal was going to be replayed.
“Really big kick,” Conlin said, alluding also to doing a better job in reducing penalties that allowed Lehigh to take a lead in the third quarter. “Showed good resilience, we have to clean up a lot, we’ll take it. Clean up the penalties and defensively how to limit their success in the first half. For the most part we gotta learn from our mistakes.”
Conlin said the Rams have to play their best football next Saturday at Stony Brook, a non conference game but a team that can score and also force pressure on the defense. A win, though, will provide momentum in their final four games against conference opponents.
They have that field goal kicker that can make a difference. The game deciding kick and range of accuracy will have their opponents also trying to keep Peskin off the field.
Rich Mancuso: Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso