Football Falls at #21 Cincinnati
Oct. 14, 2012
Cincinnati, Ohio -
Everyone is familiar with the story of David and Goliath, especially football fans. Tonight was an example of the Biblical story as the Fordham University football squad squared off with a top-25 NCAA FBS team in the University of Cincinnati. Unfortunately the Rams found out the hard way that sometimes the Goliath wins as the Bearcats upended Fordham, 49-17, in Nippert Stadium.
With the loss, Fordham falls to 4-3 on the year, while Cincinnati, who is ranked 21st in the Associated Press poll and 20th in the USA Today poll, remains undefeated at 5-0.
Despite the loss, the Rams stood toe-to-toe with Cincinnati, playing hard from the opening kickoff to the final whistle.
"I'm so proud of the way the team competed tonight," said Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead. "We had an excellent week of practice and came out tonight ready to play against not a top 20 team in the FCS but a top 20 team in the country in the FBS."
Once again, Patrick Murray stole the headlines for the Rams, connecting on three field goals for the second straight game, including a 55-yarder that broke his own school record of 52 yards set in the season opener this year with Lock Haven. He also punted four times for an average of 47.2 yards/punt with two of his kicks being downed inside the 20, and he had three of his five kickoffs downed for touchbacks.
The game was a study of two halves as the Rams trailed by eleven points at the half, 14-3, holding the potent Cincinnati offense to just 146 yards of total offense over the first 30 minutes. But the Bearcat offense got on track in the second half, scoring on all five possessions of the half.
Fordham won the toss and took the ball to start the game. That choice almost paid off as quarterback Ryan Higgins led the Rams downfield, completing four of six passes for 30 yards and Carlton Koonce gained 20 yards on the ground to put the ball on the Cincinnati 17. But on first-and-ten from the 17, Higgins was sacked and fumbled and the ball was scooped up by Cincinnati's Deven Drane who returned it 76 yards for a touchdown.
Following the ensuing kickoff, Higgins again led the Rams downfield, completing four of five passes in the drive but the drive stalled on the Cincinnati 28 and Murray connected on a 46-yard field goal to cut Fordham's deficit to four, 7-3, with 4:42 left in the first.
It took the Bearcats just three plays to score again as Travis Kelce took a short pass from Munchie Legaux and raced 78 yards for a touchdown to put Cincinnati up 14-3 just over a minute later.
The Rams threatened on the first possession of the second quarter, driving from their own 18 to the Cincinnati 31 but a Murray 48-yard field goal attempt went wide left. The big play of the drive was a 13-yard pass from Higgins to Koonce on third-and-12 from the Fordham 42.
The Bearcats answered with a missed opportunity of their own as a 47-yard field goal attempt from Tony Miliano hit the left upright with 5:59 left in the half.
Later in the second, a 46-yard Murray punt was downed on the Cincinnati two and the Bearcats couldn't move the ball, punting it back to the Rams, who took over on the Cincinnati 38. Three plays didn't net a yard and the Fordham coaching staff went back-and-forth between punting and trying a field goal, settling on a 55-yard Murray field goal attempt which he drove through the uprights to make it a 14-6 game with 43 seconds left in the half.
Cincinnati took the second half kickoff and drove 79 yards on nine plays, scoring on an eight-yard Legaux run just over four minutes into the half, and, after holding the Rams to three plays, covered 81 yards on five plays, capped by a 36-yard scoring run, to take a 28-6 lead with 7:53 left in the third.
Cincinnati extended its lead to 42-14 early in the fourth before the Rams answered with a 36-yard Murray field goal.
The Bearcats closed out the night's scoring with 1:55 left for the 49-17 final.
Higgins completed 31 of 42 passes for 262 yards and the one touchdown in the game. His favorite receiver was Wetzel, who led all receivers in the game with nine catches for 121 yards. Dan Light caught a career-high eight passes for 53 yards and Koonce hauled in a career-best eight passes for 16 yards and he gained 72 yards on 22 carries.
After a week off, the Rams will return to action when travel to Worcester, Mass., to face the College of the Holy Cross Crusaders in a matchup of Patriot League and Jesuit schools on Saturday, October 27th, at 1:00 p.m.