Defense Comes Up Big in 38-31 Win over Georgetown
Oct. 6, 2012
Bronx, N.Y. - One thing is sure, the 2012 Fordham University football team is not for the faint of heart. For the fourth straight week, the Rams found themselves in a game that featured most twists and turns than the Coney Island Cyclone, a game that came down to the end with the team making the final big play earning the win. Today, it was the Rams who made the plays when it counted, pulling out an electrifying 38-31 win over Georgetown University on Jack Coffey Field.
With the win, Fordham improves to 4-2 overall while Georgetown evens its record at 3-3.
It's not every day that you talk about what a big game a kicker had for a football team, unless he kicks a game-winning field goal as time expires. Well Fordham's Patrick Murray didn't kick the game-winner, but that was probably the only thing he didn't do today. The senior connected on three field goals, two from more than 40 yards, punted eight times for an average of 47.8 yards/punt and sent five of his seven kick offs into the end zone for touchbacks. It's also rumored that he sold a few boxes of popcorn to some fans, but that can't be confirmed.
Senior quarterback Ryan Higgins also had another strong day for the Rams, recording his second consecutive 300-yard passing game. He completed 29 of 38 passes for 305 yards and two touchdowns on the day and has now completed 57 of 79 passes for 678 yards and four scores over the past two games.
Brian Wetzel was Higgins' favorite receiver, catching eight passes for 123 yards, his second straight 100-yard receiving game, while Michael Martin led the Fordham defense with a career-high 18 tackles, nine solo.
If you run into Fordham defensive coordinator David Blackwell you may want to ask him for tomorrow's lottery numbers. Last night, Blackwell told his charges that he predicted today's game would come down to a goal line stand. And the Rams make his prognostication come true, holding the Hoyas on four attempts on first and goal from the one with Fordham leading 38-31 in the final minutes.
Georgetown had the ball on first and goal at the Fordham two with 2:20 remaining when Nick Campanella gained one yard on the first down call. On the next play, Campanella tried going up the middle but was met by Justin Yancey and Jake Rodriques who kept him out of the end zone. On third down, Campanella again tried the middle but had no luck, thanks to DeAndre Slate and Martin, who knocked the running back into the backfield.
The Hoyas decided to go for it on fourth down with 1:48 remaining and this time quarterback Stephen Skon tried to gain the yard himself, but Slate met him in the backfield for a one-yard loss, giving the ball back to the Rams.
The Rams took the lead for good on a Carlton Koonce one-yard touchdown run with nine minutes left in the game. The drive began on the Georgetown 47 following a punt and Higgins went to work, finding Nick Talbert for a 20-yard gain on first down. Two plays later, Higgins connected with Koonce for a 12-yard pick up to place the ball on the Georgetown 16 and Koonce took care of the final 16 yards on three rushes.
The game started out as a defensive struggle with Fordham leading 16-10 at the half. The Rams got on the scoreboard first, scoring on their second possession of the game, a 30-yard Murray field goal.
The Hoyas answered later in the quarter, taking advantage of a rare Murray "short" punt, taking over on the Fordham 36. Skon hooked up with Macari on the first play for 32 yards and Macari covered final four on the next to give Georgetown a 7-3 lead with 6:42 left in the first.
The Hoya lead wouldn't last long as Fordham took the ensuing kickoff and moved 69 yards on nine plays, scoring on a 19-yard pass from Higgins to Greg Wilson with 3:26 left in the period. Higgins completed all four pass attempts on the drive while Blake Wayne also completed a pass for 13 yards to Wetzel.
Georgetown knotted the game at ten early in the second quarter with a nine-play, 39-yard drive, capped by a 19-yard Matt MacZura field goal just under three minutes into the period.
The game wasn't tied for ling as Fordham responded by moving from its own 33 to the Georgetown 26 where Murray connected on a 44-yard field goal with 9:43 left in the half to give Fordham a 13-10 lead.
In the locker room at the half, Moorhead played the prognosticator, telling his team that the defense would hold the Hoyas to a three-and-out on the first possession of the second half and the offense would go down and score. The Rams made Moorhead look like a seer, holding Georgetown on the opening drive and then using just four plays to cover 53 yards and take a 23-10 lead. The big play came on fourth and inches from the Georgetown 44 when Koonce took the ball through the right side of the line and outraced the defense to the end zone.
Georgetown answered right back as Skon finished an 82-yard drive by finding Macari in the end zone with a two-yard toss to cut Fordham's lead back to six, 23-17, midway through the third.
A little over two minutes later, the Hoys punted the ball back to the Rams but the return was fumbled and Georgetown took over on the Fordham 33. It took just two plays for the Hoyas to find the end zone, the scoring play coming on a five-yard pass from Skon to Campanella.
Like the first time Georgetown held the lead, the second time didn't last long as Fordham answered with a nine-play, 74-yard scoring drive, capped by a 25-yard scoring strike from Higgins to Blake Wayne. Higgins was a perfect 4-for-4 on pass attempts on the drive for 66 yards as Fordham regained the lead, 31-24, following a two-point conversion pass from Higgins to Dan Light.
Georgetown got the equalizer early in the fourth on a seven-yard Campanella run before the Koonce one-yard rush put the Rams up for good.
Koonce came up just shy of his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the year, finishing with 99 yards on 27 carries with two scores while Light hauled in six passes for 53 yards and Wilson , Talbert and Koonce each caught four passes.
Defensively, Rodriques also finished with double figures in tackles, making eleven, including five solo and one sack, while Jake Dixon added nine stops, six solo.
The Rams will return to action next Saturday, October 13th, as they close out their non-conference slate by traveling to Cincinnati, Ohio, to face the University of Cincinnati Bearcats from the NCAA FBS at 7:00 p.m. in a game that will be televised live on ESPN3