Football Suffers Blowout Loss at Ball State


Zach Davis (above) ran for 85 yards and a touchdown on Saturday, but it wasn't enough for the Rams to top Ball State. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Dylan Balsamo, Assistant Sports Editor

After a loss at home on the last play of the game last week, it would be fair to think that perhaps Saturday would be the day Fordham Football would break out and show the world it is a team to be reckoned with.

Ultimately, Saturday afternoon would not be that day for the Rams.

The Rams found themselves in the state of Indiana for the first time since 1942 as they took on FBS opponent Ball State University. Fordham led coming out of the gate, and there were positives in the matchup that the scorecard did not tell, but they dropped the matchup with the Cardinals 57–29 at Schumann Stadium. At the end of the day, it was a 28 point blowout defeat.

Fordham put itself on the board first on its second possession, after a 58-yard drive that resulted in a 2-yard touchdown run for junior running back Zach Davis, to lead 7-0. Ball State responded immediately to even up the score when Drew Plitt sent a 50-yard pass downfield to receiver Justin Hall. On the next drive, a 5-yard reception from sophomore quarterback Tim DeMorat to junior tight end Jack Lynch would put Fordham as close to victory as the team would get that day.

Then, the Cardinals’ Walter Fletcher ran 10 yards to top off another successful offensive drive and tie the game at 14 points.

That concluded the scoring in the first quarter. After that, the game slipped away from the Rams.

Ball State pounced for an additional 14 points over Fordham during the second quarter. These scores came from a short possession that brought a 3-yard touchdown pass to Cody Rudy and a long, stampeding drive capitalized by Antwan Davis’ grab that moved the ball 40 yards and put him in the end zone. Now, all of a sudden, the first half was over, and the Cardinals had doubled the Rams’ score, making it 28–14.

“I thought we started fast on both sides of the ball,” said Fordham head coach Joe Conlin. They certainly did start fast, but things began to fade.

The Rams had a mishap on their second-half kickoff, which Ball State took advantage of, with Jaylin Thomas recording a 1-yard safety and bringing the Cardinals to the 30 point mark. They then used that next drive to pound out another touchdown as Riley Miller scored on a 3-yard pass. Two and a half minutes later, Caleb Huntley secured another touchdown for Ball State, running for 16 yards. The score was 42–14 before Fordham would score again.

The last minutes of the third quarter saw some back and forth scoring, beginning with a touchdown for the Rams when junior running back Trey Sneed pushed his way into the end zone and the team secured the two point conversion to score the eight points that it needed. The Cardinals answered with a 28-yarder from Plitt to Miller before Fordham finished off the third quarter with another touchdown run from Sneed. Headed into the fourth, it was 50–29 Ball State.

The lone points put on the board in the fourth quarter were from the Cardinals, when Davis caught a short pass, but it was enough to make the gash that was the Rams’ deficit even more blatant. The Rams walked off the field with a 57–29 loss.

It is nearly impossible to come home from a loss like that and think of positives from the game, but for these Rams, there were a handful of things that did go right on Saturday.

The game saw some outstanding defensive outings for Fordham, as three Rams finished with double-digit tackles. Junior linebacker Glenn Cunningham recorded 10 tackles while also picking off a Cardinal pass, and sophomores defensive back Anthony Tony-Itoyah and linebacker Ryan Greenhagen each recorded 11 tackles of their own.

“Defensively,” said Conlin, “I thought we stood up to the run game well but need to improve our perimeter defense.”

These thoughts were no stretch of the imagination on Conlin’s part. Ball State had 444 passing yards against Fordham, helping bring the Cardinals 29 first downs and a staggering 596 total yards. It is almost impossible to win games when allowing these numbers.

What is clear from the Rams’ 29 points is that this loss was not the result of Fordham being unable to put up offensive numbers themselves. The Rams wound up gaining a total of 326 yards in the game, thanks to the efforts of Davis, who bolted for 85 yards and a touchdown. Sneed, a transfer in his Fordham debut against Ball State, contributed heavily, scoring two touchdowns. While the sophomore quarterback Tim DeMorat held his own as usual, throwing for 221 yards, there was also significant offensive help from freshman wide receiver Dequece Carter, who earned 47 yards from his five catches. In total, the Rams held the ball for 30 minutes and 48 seconds, just over half of the game.

However, it takes more than these standout performances to defeat teams like Ball State.

“Offensively,” Conlin stated, “our guys fought, but we turned it over too many times to win against an FBS opponent on the road.”

And turn it over they did. Fordham was six for 15 on third-down conversions. Junior kicker Andrew Mevis, who grew up 90 miles northwest of Schumann Stadium, had to punt the football six times for the Rams.

As Conlin pointed out, Fordham was playing out of its league and comfort zone, taking on an FBS team like Ball State at its home stadium, as is the norm for FCS teams earlier in the season. For a program like Fordham’s, a game against these Cardinals was a humbling experience.

Up next for the Rams is the second game on a three-game road trip, a matchup in Rhode Island with Bryant University on Saturday Sept. 14 at 1:00 p.m. at Bulldog Stadium. For Fordham, the process still continues.