By Drew Casey
On a picture perfect fall afternoon at Rose Hill, the Fordham football team dominated the visiting Monmouth University Hawks on Saturday, Sept. 26, winning 54-31 en route to its third victory of the season.
Fresh off his Patriot League weekly accolades, junior quarterback Kevin Anderson did not miss a beat. In fact, the signal caller again earned Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week honors for tossing five touchdowns for the second straight week.
“The key to Kevin’s success has been his preparation and coach [Andrew] Breiner getting him ready to play,” fourth year head coach Joe Moorhead said. “All the success he has is because he works hard at the mental part of it. He works hard at the physical part of it and being a great division one quarterback is very important to him.”
The Marshall transfer made quick work of the Hawks defense, tossing his first touchdown pass just 4:04 into the game. Capping an 11 play, 86-yd drive that included a 49-yd completion to junior wide receiver Robbie Cantelli, Anderson connected with freshman wide receiver Corey Caddle for a 5-yd score.
Later in the first quarter on Monmouth’s second offensive possession, Fordham’s defense helped get the ball quickly back into Anderson’s hands. Senior defensive back JQ Bowers intercepted his first of two passes of the day from Monmouth redshirt freshman quarterback Cody Williams and gave Fordham possession at its own 31-yd line. The turnover was also the first of five takeaways forced by the Rams’ defense.
“They [the defense] did a great job,” Moorhead said. “The primary factor in determining football games is turnovers and explosive plays. If we’re able to create more turnovers than we give and we’re able to have more explosive plays, generally speaking, you’re going to win a lot of football games.”
After the help from its defense, the Rams’ offense turned up the efficiency as the unit engineered a near 70-yd scoring driving in just 2:17. Sophomore running back Chase Edmonds reached the end zone after Anderson found him from 24-yds out. The touchdown was Edmonds’ sixth total touchdown on the season, but there was more to come.
Monmouth cut into the Rams’ early 14-0 lead with a field goal late in the first quarter, but Anderson again found Edmonds through the air early in the second to put Fordham up 21-3.
With the 16th ranked Rams in control, Monmouth running back Lavon Chaney found the end zone on the ground before Edmonds answered in a big way for Fordham. The All-American scampered for an explosive 56-yd touchdown run to put the Rams up 28-10.
After an Anderson interception and ensuing Monmouth touchdown, Fordham looked for more in the final minute of the second quarter. The aggressiveness paid off as Anderson connected with freshman Jordan Allen for his first career collegiate reception, a 60-yd touchdown with 27 seconds left in the first half.
Fordham led 35-17 at the halftime break.
The Rams opened the second half up with a pair of field goals from junior place kicker Makay Redd. The second of the pair was good from 54-yds, setting a new career long for the Alamo, California native. Consequently, Redd was named the Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week on Monday.
Minutes later Monmouth was set up at the Fordham 1-yd line, poised to cut into its 24 point deficit. The Rams forced the Hawks into a third and goal situation in which the visiting team elected to go to the air. For Williams and Monmouth, it could not have gone any worse as graduate linebacker Stephen Hodge intercepted Williams’ pass in the end zone. Hodge’s interception complemented his team-high 15 tackles in the game.
Anderson continued his successful afternoon on the ensuing third quarter drive by tossing his fifth touchdown of the game. The first year quarterback found freshman Austin Longi from 10-yds out to extend Fordham’s lead to 48-17.
Junior running back Kendall Pearcey was the final Ram to score on the day. He did so on a 21-yd rush early in the fourth quarter on a well-designed fake end around.
Monmouth added two further touchdowns to account for the 54-31 final score.
Anderson finished with 340 yards passing to go along with the five scoring strikes, while Edmonds collected 137 total yards to go along with three total scores. Cantelli led all Fordham receivers with 119-yds on seven catches.
Fordham is now 3-1 and opens Patriot League play next Saturday, Oct. 3, at 6 p.m., as they travel to play Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania. Lafayette is currently 1-3, but rallied from a 14 point deficit for its first win of the season this past Saturday at Wagner College in Staten Island.
“[We’re going to] continue to take it one at a time,” Moorhead said when asked about the team’s next game. “Not look too far forward. Not look too far back.”
The Rams were chosen to finish first in the seven team Patriot League in the conference’s preseason poll.