Football Opens Season with 55-0 Win over Lock Haven
Aug. 31, 2012
Bronx, N.Y. - The Fordham University football Rams kicked off the 2012 season tonight on Jack Coffey Field and it proved to be a night of firsts. The most important first was the first win for rookie head coach Joe Moorhead, who became the first Fordham head coach to win in his debut since Dave Rice in 1975 as the Rams shutout the Lock Haven University Eagles, 55-0.
The game was also the 750th all-time win for the Rams, who become the 15th NCAA Division I school to reach the milestone, the fifth institution on the NCAA FCS level. The other four NCAA FCS team are Yale, Harvard, Penn and Princeton which makes Fordham the first non-Ivy League NCAA FCS school to hit the 750-win mark.
The win was Fordham's first in a season opener since a 16-0 win over Rhode Island in 2008, one of two shutouts the Rams turned in that season. It is also the first shutout for Fordham since the second blanking that season, a 17-0 win over Georgetown.
The 55 points put up by the Fordham offense are the most for a season-opening varsity game for the Rams since 1937, when Fordham opened the year with a 66-0 win over Franklin & Marshall (the Rams scored 69 in a season opener with Fairfield in 1969 on the club level). It was the most points scored by the Rams in a game since a 63-28 win over Rhode Island in 2003.
Individually, the night was highlighted by senior kicker Patrick Murray's school-record 52-yard field goal as he broke Kevin Clyne's former school mark of 50-yards set against Ithaca in 1982. It was also a night of firsts for senior running back Carlton Koonce, who recorded his first career 100-yard rushing game, and senior wide receiver, Nick Talbert, who notched his first career 100-yard receiving game.
Not to be outdone by the offense, the Fordham defense allowed just 34 net rushing yards and 126 total yards of offense. It was the fewest rushing yards allowed by a Fordham defense since the Rams held Georgetown to 29 net yards in 2008 and the fewest total yards allowed since Fordham held the Hoyas to 99 yards in that game.
"It's an unbelievable feeling," said Moorhead. "To be able to come back here, to come back where you played ball and got your education and have the opportunity to be head coach of the football team. It was just a surreal feeling throughout the day and was capped off with an unbelievable win. All the credit goes to the players and the assistant coaches who did a terrific job executing the game plan."
The Fordham defense got the offense back on the field quickly, holding the Bald Eagles to a three-and-out, and the offense took over on its own 43 following the punt. Higgins drove the Rams down to the Lock Haven one where Michael Nebrich came on at quarterback and took it into the end zone on his first play in a Fordham uniform for a 14-0 lead midway through the first. Higgins completed three of four passes on the drive for 68 yards, including a 24-yard completion to Talbert on third-and-14 from the Lock Haven 34.
The defense again held the Lock Haven offense to just three plays and no yards but the ensuing Fordham possession ended the same way.
The Bald Eagles picked up their initial first down of the game on the ensuing drive but the drive stalled on the Lock Haven 27 and Fordham got the ball back on the Bald Eagles' 42 following a penalty on the punt return. This drive was led by Koonce, who gained 33 of the 42 yards on the ground, but it was Nebrich who came on for the final play of the drive to punch it in from the four to put the Rams up 21-0 with 17 seconds left in the first.
With just over ten minutes left in the second quarter, the Rams received the ball on their own 20 following a Lock Haven punt. Higgins and Koonce made quick work of the 80 yards, with Koonce gaining 29 yards on three carries and Higgins completing both pass attempts in the drive, including a 24-yard scoring strike to Greg Wilson to give Fordham a 28-0 lead with 8:25 left in the half.
Later in the second, Lock Haven threatened to get on the scoreboard, driving from its own 43 to the Fordham three where the Bald Eagles faced a first-and-goal. But the Fordham defense didn't surrender another yard and the threat was snuffed by DeAndre Slate, who got to Brandon Brader in the backfield for a one-yard loss on fourth-and-goal from the three as the score remained 28-0 into the intermission.
On Fordham's first possession of the second half, Higgins moved the Rams to the Lock Haven 34 where the drive stalled and Murray lined up for a 52-yard field goal, which he drove straight through the uprights for the school record and a 31-0 Fordham lead with 11:05 left in the third.
The Rams started with good field position on their next offensive possession, taking over on the Lock Haven 43 following a short punt. A pair of Koonce rushes sandwiched around a Nebrich carry, moved the ball to the Bald Eagles' 13 where Nebrich found Wilson with a 13-yard touchdown pass to make it a 38-0 game midway through the third.
Lock Haven started to move the ball on the ensuing possession but the drive was halted when Ian Williams picked off a Jarrett Kratzer pass and returned it to the Fordham 36. The Rams then went on a long scoring drive, moving from the 36 to the Lock Haven three where the drive stalled and Murray booted his second field goal of the game, a 20-yarder, to put Fordham up 41-0 with 46 seconds remaining in the quarter.
The Rams gained possession early in the fourth quarter on the Lock Haven 40 following a punt and needed just six plays to cover the 40 yards with Nebrich taking care of the final four yards for his third score of the night and a 48-0 Fordham lead with 10:21 left in the game.
Fordham closed out the scoring later in the period, driving 50 yards on eight plays as Jared Crayton scored his first collegiate touchdown on a two-yard leap to cap the drive with 5:26 remaining.
Koonce rushed 19 times for a game-high 146 yards while Nebrich finished with 58 yards on ten carries, with three scores, and Crayton 54 yards on nine rushes.
Higgins completed 16 of 23 passes for 229 yards and one touchdown while Talbert lead all receivers, catching eight passes for 105 yards, both career-highs, and Wilson grabbing four passes for 68 yards and two scores.
Senior linebacker Michael Martin led all tacklers with nine stops, six solo, including two for loss and one sack, while Williams finished with six tackles, five solo, and the interception and Slate added six stops, five solo, including one sack.
The Rams will next be in action on Saturday, September 8th, as they travel to the Philadelphia area to face Villanova University at 6:00 p.m.