Last week, Fordham Football earned its first win of the 2019 season and looked to be on the up and up again. On Saturday, while at Stony Brook University, the Rams fell in a blowout, losing a matchup to the Seawolves at LaValle Stadium 45–10. Fordham found itself going in the opposite direction.
For a team that has shown constant talent and promise through its first three weeks of play, this is an unexpected and surprising loss. It begs the question: What went wrong?
“I didn’t like the way we played on offense or defense,” remarked Fordham head coach Joe Conlin after the game. He went on to say that “both sides didn’t execute as well as they should have.”
The Rams’ lack of execution on Saturday night allowed Stony Brook to take advantage of opportunities and break away.
The Seawolves jumped ahead early; they scored 10 points in the first quarter, seven off of a Ty Son Lawton 5-yard touchdown run and the other three on a Nick Courtney 44-yard field goal. Already, Stony Brook had put Fordham in a hole.
Stony Brook’s offense, which finished with 601 total yards on the day, continued to pounce in the second quarter, while Fordham’s lone points in the half came from a 32-yard field goal kick off the foot of junior kicker Andrew Mevis. The Seawolves tacked on three more touchdowns, a Seba Nekhet 9-yard run that ended an 80-yard drive, and two scoring catches by Isaiah Givens, one for 30 yards and the other for 2 yards. By the time the whistle blew for halftime, Stony Brook was leading 31–3.
In the third quarter, the Rams kept the Seawolves silent, but they themselves also could not score. While Fordham had possession of the ball for just a few seconds less than half of the game, sophomore quarterback Tim DeMorat, making his fourth career start, brought the Rams just 223 total offensive yards, with 185 passing yards. The rushing attack only managed a surprisingly minuscule 38 rushing yards.
In its first two drives of the fourth quarter, Stony Brook tacked on two more touchdowns against the Rams, a 55 yarder to Jean Constant, and another TD run for Nekhet, this time for 35 yards. Within the last six minutes before the final whistle, Fordham finally recorded a touchdown on the day, as sophomore wide receiver Fotis Kokosioulis caught a 33-yard pass from DeMorat and made the score 45–10.
But that is where the score would stand. Fordham, a program looking to break out, left Stony Brook with a 35-point loss.
While this program is still young and going through the pains of growing (it started five true freshmen on Saturday and six more also appeared), Conlin asks for absolutely no sympathy and does not take those appositives as an excuse for losing, especially with this grand of a defeat.
“We’re young and are experiencing some growing pains but youth is no excuse.”
Offensively, Fordham’s biggest weakness against Stony Brook was on the ground, as Fordham was out-rushed by nearly 330 yards –– of the Ram’s 38 rushing yards, junior running back Zach Davis accounted for 31 of them.
However, the Rams’ biggest problem of the evening was the fact that it could not stop the Seawolves from excessively scoring. Stony Brook controlled possession of the ball about as much as Fordham did and almost managed to triple the Rams’ total offensive yards. While Fordham sophomore linebacker and reigning Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week Ryan Greenhagen recorded 12 total tackles on the day along with 10 solo tackles and a sack, his efforts were not enough to keep the Seawolves from putting up 50 more passing yards than Fordham and getting five more first downs.
The Rams’ problem on Saturday was certainly not one of youth. It was one of execution.
“We have to go out next week and work on correcting the mistakes,” Conlin said. Things are not going to get much easier for the Rams in 2019. With four more road games and six more games against conference opponents, the difficulty in figuring themselves out as a team is only just beginning. In order not to fall too far behind the rest of the Patriot League, Fordham better understand and correct those mistakes fast.
“We have to get back to work and work twice as hard,” Conlin added.
The test will begin this coming week on(right word?) Saturday, Sept. 28, when Fordham hosts its second CAA opponent in as many weeks in the Richmond Spiders. That game will be Fordham’s first at home, on Jack Coffey Field, since its opening-night loss to Central Connecticut State. The Rams will be glad to be home, and they hope that doubling down will help them fix their mistakes and right the ship of the 2019 season.