What better time to put yourself and your team on the right track than at the beginning of conference play for the season, and against Georgetown, no less?
That is what Fordham Football did on Saturday, traveling to our nation’s capital to take on a then 4–1 Hoyas team at Cooper Field and earning a triumphant 30–27 victory over the weekend. Georgetown entered the game as the top-ranked defense in the Patriot League and the third-best in the FCS, but the Rams were able to pull out a victory in a tight game with sophomore receiver Fotis Kokosioulis’s 17-yard touchdown catch with 16 seconds to play to take the lead for good.
While the game was evenly matched and was back and forth in both pacing and scoring, Fordham played catchup for a fair chunk of the game clock on Saturday afternoon. But in the end, it is the final score that matters.
The Hoyas had the ball to begin the first quarter and made quick work of a Rams’ defense that was still settling into its stride for the day. Within 39 seconds, Georgetown made two plays before winding up in the end zone: one for 81 yards and the other for one yard, as Herman Moultrie III pushed his way into the end zone for a touchdown. After a failed two-point conversion attempt, the Hoyas held a 6–0 lead.
Fordham finally retaliated near the end of the first quarter when, with under a minute to go, junior tight end Jack Lynch found himself putting an 11-yard passing play into the end zone to give Fordham six points and even up the score. After the Rams’ junior kicker Andrew Mevis’ extra point kick was blocked, Georgetown’s Cameron Deen returned the ball for 98 yards, giving the Hoyas two points and an 8–6 advantage.
On their first possession of the second quarter, Georgetown struck again, as Gunther Johnson scored a touchdown on a 16-yard run and gave the Hoyas a 15–6 lead, putting the Rams inside a nine-point deficit. But by halftime, it was a different story for Fordham.
The Rams’ defense, having themselves a collectively strong day on the ground, held Georgetown for the remainder of the second. On the other side of the ball, Fordham secured itself 10 points: three of them on a 46-yard field goal from Mevis, and the other seven via a two-yard run from junior running back Zach Davis, who continues an outstanding season by earning his fifth career 100-yard rushing game and fourth of the season — he finished the afternoon with 23 carries for 138 yards).
They have not done it too often this season, but the Rams went to the locker room at halftime with the lead, up 16–15 against a team that was projected to beat them.
In the opening drive of the second half, Fordham had the ball and had another steady and successful drive, pushing downfield for three and a half minutes in what resulted in another short touchdown run for Davis (this one for one yard). It was a seven-play, 78-yard possession that gave the Rams an eight-point advantage.
But in a sport like this one, no single-digit advantage is secure.
Especially against a team that, while held under their expectations for the afternoon, finished the game with 346 passing yards and 525 yards overall.
The Hoyas made another long drive look easy. In just over four minutes, they needed only eight plays to travel 75 yards and put Johnson back in the end zone with a 10-yard running score. Georgetown tried the two-pointer but failed again, keeping them at 21 points and leaving Fordham with a two-point advantage.
While the Rams’ offense could not secure the insurance of more scores, the Rams would hold down the Hoyas defensively until halfway through the fourth quarter, when Moultrie’s goal-line run into the end zone capped off another 70+ yard drive for Georgetown, this one being 10 plays in under four minutes. The Hoyas took a 27–23 lead after they yet again failed to convert an attempt at two points.
With 2:57 to go in the game, Fordham had the ball again on their own end of the field looking to drive and put themselves back on top, but sophomore quarterback Tim DeMorat’s pass was intercepted at the Rams’ 34 for his second of two interceptions on the day. All hope seemed to be lost for Fordham.
But the Hoyas turned it back over on downs. The Rams’ defense stuffed them on a fourth-down attempt in true channeling of the Seven Blocks of Granite. Fordham got the ball back at their own 27.
With time running out, DeMorat led his squad downfield 56 yards before connecting with Kokosioulis for a 17-yard pass into the endzone. In 1:05, the Rams had gone 73 yards in eight plays. Fordham had a 30–27 lead with 16 ticks remaining on the game clock.
“I saw coach make the call,” Kokosioulis said of his late-game heroics on Saturday afternoon. He had said to himself, “Man, I just have to make this play.’”
That he most certainly did.
Georgetown would then go on to fumble the ball within the final few seconds to secure a Rams victory in the nation’s capital.
For the Rams, the game had many other heroes besides Kokosioulis and Davis, including DeMorat, who threw for 214 yards and two touchdowns, junior running back Trey Sneed, who ran for 54 yards and freshman wide receiver DeQuece Carter, who had 51 yards on four catches.
Defensively, Fordham had the usual outstanding performance of sophomore linebacker Ryan Greenhagen, who on Saturday had eight tackles and six solo, but the Rams also had other standout games from players like junior linebacker Glenn Cunningham, who had nine tackles and forced two Georgetown fumbles.
For the Hoyas, however, it is difficult to overlook the fact that their three failed attempts at two-point conversions instead of going for the higher percentage one-point kicks may have been what sealed the deal in a game they lost by three points.
But the past is in the past, and if a team wants to win, they have to look to the future.
That immediate future for the Rams is a home matchup this coming week at home with the Lehigh University Mountain Hawks at 1 p.m. at Jack Coffey Field, the Rams’ second Patriot League game of 2019.
Fordham will have momentum after an invigorating victory on the road. Saturday will see where the 3–2 team will go next.