A Dream Season Comes to a Close in Maryland

Rams Fall to Towson, 48-28, in Second Round of FCS Playoffs

Michael Rezin/The Ram

Michael Rezin/The Ram

By DAN GARTLAND
EXECUTIVE SPORTS EDITOR

Fordham’s 11-1 regular season success broke a spread of school records — going back to the early days of legend Vince Lombardi’s time — united the on-campus community in excited rallies and celebrations, captured national media attention and earned the Rams a coveted spot in the NCAA’s FCS playoffs.

But one week after defeating Sacred Heart University at Rose Hill in the first round, 37-27, the Rams fell to Towson, 48-28, in Maryland on Saturday afternoon — halting the Rams’ dream season.

“It’s obviously a bit bittersweet,” Joe Moorhead, Fordham’s head coach, said after the game. “We knew the margin of error was going to be small, and we didn’t do enough to overcome it.”

Redshirt senior running back Carlton Koonce added: “The national championship was our goal and obviously we fell short, but that’s nothing to be ashamed of.”

The victory represented Towson’s first FSC playoff win in school history, and a record 11th win on the season.

Towson scored first, on a one-yard touchdown run by Terrance West, the Tigers’ Player of the Year candidate. The Fordham defense stopped West on third-and-goal, but the Tigers elected to go for it on fourth down and West powered his way into the end zone.

Fordham answered with a long, methodical, 13-play drive, culminating in a nine-yard touchdown reception by Jorge Solano to tie the game at 7.

Towson scored on its next possession. Facing a fourth-and-4 from their own 32, the Tigers came out with three tight ends, a fullback and West at halfback. It seemed all but certain that Towson would attempt to pick up the first down on the ground. Instead, quarterback Peter Athens faked a handoff to West, and the Fordham defense bought it, leaving a man wide open down the middle of field for a touchdown.

After Fordham turned the ball over on downs, Towson scored another touchdown to extend its lead to 21-7.

Fordham caught a huge break on its next possession. After three ineffective offensive plays, Fordham lined up to punt. Towson’s return man, Brian Dowling, ran the kick all the way back for a touchdown, but it was called back for a holding penalty. The Rams were called for an illegal formation, resulting in a re-kick. Fordham caught a huge break on the do-over, as Towson was called for a roughing the kicker penalty, resulting in a Fordham first down. Given new life, Fordham scored a touchdown to cut the deficit to 21-14.

Fordham then forced a three-and-out, but its ensuing offensive possession appeared doomed by a 15-yard loss on first down. Again, Pavlik punted, but it was muffed by Dowling and Fordham recovered. Fordham took advantage of the miscues and scored to touchdown to knot the game at 21 late in the first half.

The game was tied at 21 at halftime, but Towson scored 21 unanswered to open the second half. Fordham finally scored its first touchdown with 9:13 left in the fourth quarter. But the deficit was too much to overcome.

After the game, Moorhead highlighted the success of the seniors and kept positive about the team’s record-breaking season — “it’s nothing to be taken lightly,” he said.

“The message to the team after the game was ‘It should sting, it should hurt. We don’t like the feeling of a loss, but at the same time, we weren’t gonna mourn the season, we were gonna celebrate it,” Moorhead said.