On Saturday, Fordham Football suffered a 31-29 loss to the Colgate University Raiders. After quickly falling behind, Fordham’s offense came alive toward the end of the contest, scoring three touchdowns before its critical two-point conversion attempt was thwarted. It was the Rams’ second loss of the season and first in Patriot League play.
Despite losing junior wide receiver Robbie Cantelli to an injury in the first quarter, junior quarterback Kevin Anderson had a banner day, hitting 34 of his 49 targets, throwing for 378 passing yards and four touchdown passes. Freshman receivers Austin Longi and Corey Caddle stepped up to combine for 169 yards in Cantelli’s absence, which will last for the remainder of the season.
“We have a very high standard for QB play here,” said head coach Joe Moorhead. “Kevin has done an excellent job picking up where Michael [Nebrich, FCRH ’15] left off, from both a production standpoint and leading our team to wins.”
However, Anderson was unable to lead the Rams to victory on Saturday. Colgate’s feisty offense and strong defense against the run allowed it to hold strong for a home win.
“We were very disappointed to lose a game of this magnitude,” said Moorhead. “The margin of error when playing against a team like Colgate is extremely small.”
The Raiders jumped out to an early lead, scoring on their first drive of the game. After the team opted to go for it on fourth down, quarterback Jake Melville connected with a receiver for a 25-yd touchdown pass. On the next drive of the game, Fordham marched downfield, allowing junior kicker Makay Redd to knock it in for a field goal.
However, Colgate’s offense was relentless. After a good kick return, the team worked quickly, allowing Melville to make the two-yd run for another touchdown.
Fordham positioned itself for another field goal attempt at the beginning of the second quarter, but Redd’s kick was blocked. Seven plays later, Colgate crossed into the end zone for its third touchdown of the half. Once again, Melville was the star of the drive, completing a pass for 38 yards and rushing for 21 more.
On the next drive, the Rams scored their first touchdown of the game when Caddle caught a 27-yd pass for the score. It ended on a sour note, however — Redd missed his PAT attempt, a mistake that would come back to haunt the Rams by the game’s end. Still, they succeeded in finally putting a dent in Colgate’s lead. The Raiders made a field goal to end the first half, putting the score at 24-9 at the midway point.
After a scoreless third quarter, Fordham finally began to make its charge. Anderson found Longi in the end zone for his second touchdown pass of the game, bringing the Rams to within one score of the lead. However, another Colgate touchdown from running back James Holland brought things right back to where they started.
With just three minutes to erase a 15-point deficit, the Rams got busy. Once again, Anderson found Longi in the end zone, reducing Colgate’s lead by six (seven after a successful PAT from Redd). With just 27 seconds left in the game, Fordham successfully recovered its onside kick. After a pair of unsuccessful attempts, Anderson connected with Caddle for his fourth touchdown pass of the day, bringing the score to 31-29. Needing a two-point conversion to tie the game, Fordham was unsuccessful as Anderson’s pass was batted down before reaching the end zone.
While Fordham’s passing game was certainly up to standard, Colgate was effective at containing the Rams’ biggest offensive weapon, sophomore running back Chase Edmonds. Coming off of a 347-yd game against Lehigh, Edmonds ran for just 51 on Saturday, his worst performance of the season so far. Even so, last season’s FCS Offensive Rookie of the Year has 1,444 rushing yards and 23 total touchdowns in 2015.
Similarly, Redd had a tough day at the office. While it is unfair to trace a team’s loss to one person, there is no denying that his missed PAT effectively forced the Rams to attempt a two-point conversion following their final touchdown — an attempt that was unsuccessful.
Still, Moorhead was quick to defend his players. “There were a few plays in all three phases of the game that we needed to make, in order to win, and failed to execute,” he said. “Ultimately, it’s my responsibility to [en]sure we get it done. This loss falls squarely on my shoulders.”
This Patriot League loss is Fordham’s first since falling to Lafayette in 2013. Colgate is now the only Patriot League team that has maintained a perfect record in conference play this season.
Next week, the Rams will host Bucknell in their penultimate game of the regular season.