Football Drops Season Finale to Holy Cross
Nov. 19, 2011
Bronx, N.Y. - Entering the final regular season football game of the year neither Fordham nor Holy Cross had any chance of playing beyond this week. But that didn't stop the two longtime Jesuit rivals from playing a spirited game with lots of offense. Unfortunately, the Rams ran out of gas in the fourth quarter as Holy Cross scored 20 unanswered points in the period and defeated Fordham, 41-21, on Jack Coffey Field in a game sponsored by Viridian .
With the loss, Fordham closes out the season with a 1-10 record. Holy Cross, who retained possession of the Ram-Crusader Cup for the fourth straight year, finishes at 6-5.
The Rams were aware that Holy Cross possessed a strong passing game, entering today's game with the second ranked quarterback in the NCAA FCS, Ryan Taggart who was averaging 346.0 passing yards/game. But today, the Crusaders used a ground game to wear down the Rams, gaining 163 of their 248 rushing yards in the fourth quarter. Conversely, the Fordham offense, which gained 401 yards through the first three quarters couldn't maintain that pace and was held to 44 yards of offense in the fourth.
With the score tied at 21 entering the fourth quarter, Holy Cross was moving downfield but faced a fourth and five from the Fordham 31. The Crusaders decided to go for it on fourth down and Taggart dropped back to pass. But the Fordham defense applied pressure, forcing Taggart out the pocket and down the right sideline where he stretched just enough to pick up the first down. Four plays later, Taggart capped the drive with a six-yard scoring run to give the Crusaders a 28-21 lead with 10:33 remaining.
After the Fordham offense went three and out, Holy Cross took over on its own 20 following a 54-yard Patrick Murray punt. The Crusaders kept it on the ground for most of the drive, rushing for 74 of the 80 total yards on the drive that took over five minutes off the clock, with Eddie Houghton scoring on a 38-yard romp to put the Crusaders up 35-21, with 5:21 remaining.
The Rams were able to move the ball on the ensuing possession, advancing to their own 43 but a fourth-and-13 pass from Ryan Higgins fell incomplete and the Crusaders took over. Holy Cross covered the 43 yards on three plays with Houghton taking care of the final three yards to put the Crusaders up 41-21 with just under two minutes left as the extra point attempt was no good.
The Holy Cross offense got things started, taking the opening kickoff and moving 74 yards on eight plays to take a 7-0 lead on a five yard pass from Taggart to Charles McCall 3:57 into the game.
Later in the first, Fordham took over on its own 46 and, on the third play from scrimmage, Higgins found a streaking Greg Wilson with a 44-yard touchdown pass to even the game at seven with 5:14 left in the quarter.
The Fordham defense held the Crusaders to three plays on the ensuing possession and the Rams got the ball back on their own 29. Seven plays later, Fordham faced a third-and-five from the Holy Cross 49 when Higgins hooked up with Blake Wayne for a nine-yard gain and a first down. On the next play, Higgins again connected with Wilson for a long scoring pass, this one a 40-yarder, as the Rams took a 14-7 lead with 1:21 remaining in the first.
The Fordham lead was short-lived as Holy Cross responded with a nine-play, 79-yard drive with Taggart finding Jon Smith with a 25-yard scoring strike on a fourth-and-seven call from the Fordham 25 early in the second quarter.
Later in the second, Holy Cross moved down to the Fordham 12 but a 29-yard field goal attempt from John Macomber drifted wide right.
The Rams took advantage of that missed opportunity and covered the 80 yards on eleven plays with Carlton Koonce scoring from the six to put the Rams up 21-14 with 37 seconds left in the half, a lead Fordham took into the break. Higgins completed five of nine passes on the drive.
Fordham had the first possession of the second half and moved from its own 28 to the Holy Cross 23 but a Michael Marando 40-yard field goal attempt hit the left upright.
Later in the third, Holy Cross got the equalizer on a 71-yard touchdown bomb from Taggart to Kyle Toulouse with 8:03 left in the period.
Higgins completed 23 of 41 passes for 238 yards and two touchdowns with Koonce catching eight passes for 52 yards and Wilson five for 113 with the two scores. On the ground, Whiting gained 92 yards on 20 carries.
Defensively, Vaughn Scott led the Rams with nine tackles, seven solo, while Andre Delaire added eight stops, seven solo and one sack, and Jason Weston also finished with eight tackles, five solo, and he broke up a pass.