Fordham Falls to UMass 49-35 in Playoffs

Despite First-Round Loss, Rams’ 125th Season of Football a Success


Published: December 13, 2007

When the Fordham University football team ended the 2006 season with a 3-8 record, few observers  could have predicted the turnaround the Rams made this year.

But with the entire team and head coach Tom Masella beginning to jell in their second year together, Fordham finished the 2007 season 8-3 overall and 5-1 in the Patriot League, capturing their first Patriot League title since 2002.

In doing so, Fordham qualified for one of the sixteen spots in the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision playoffs but lost their first round game to the University of Massachusetts on Nov. 24 by a 49-35 score.

Despite facing a highly-touted Minutemen defense ranked in the national top-10, the Rams turned the game into a shootout, scoring 35 points on a day when quarterback John Skelton, CBA ’10, accounted for all of Fordham’s end zone trips, throwing 25 of 46 passes for 281 yards and three touchdowns to go along with two rushing scores.

The Rams kept the contest close, trading touchdowns with the Minutemen throughout the second and third quarters. Then with eight minutes remaining in the fourth quarter and UMass clinging to a seven-point lead, linebacker Charles Walker intercepted a Skelton pass, setting up a 22-yard scoring drive, putting the Minutemen on top 49-35. Though Fordham played well from behind all afternoon, the 14-point lead proved to be too much for the Rams to overcome so late in the game.

Though the Rams made a quick exit from the playoffs, the loss against UMass was overshadowed by the magnitude of Fordham’s successful 2007 season.

“Making the playoffs is a testament to how focused we have been this year,” said offensive lineman Ian Pace, FCRH ’09. “Every player—no matter how small or large his role—has put the team first.  That’s what has made us as a team so successful.”

In stark contrast to seasons past, the 2007 team went undefeated on the road and had 12 players on the roster earn All-League accolades. This recent success was especially gratifying for the team’s seniors who, in their last year at Fordham, experienced their first winning season.

“It feels good to finally win around here,” said senior linebacker and captain Earl Hudnell, CBA ’08, who led the Patriot League with 14.5 tackles for loss, “The last few seasons were rough, but the atmosphere is better now because we had such a good season.”