Rams Crush Crusaders at Yankee Stadium

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Rams Crush Crusaders at Yankee Stadium

(PHOTO BY SABRINA JEN/THE OBSERVER)

(PHOTO BY SABRINA JEN/THE OBSERVER)

(PHOTO BY SABRINA JEN/THE OBSERVER)

(PHOTO BY SABRINA JEN/THE OBSERVER)

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By MATTHEW MCCARTHY & ALEXANDER DIMISA
Managing Editor & Asst. Sports & Health Editor

This year’s matchup between the Fordham Rams and the Holy Cross Crusaders was special for both teams. The game marked the 31st annual Ram-Crusader Cup, which took place at Yankee Stadium in front of a crowd of 21,375 fans.

Entering the game, the Rams were on a hot streak, having won four of their last five games and situated at second place in the Patriot League with an overall record of 6–3 and 3–1 in conference play. On the other hand, Holy Cross had lost two of their last three games giving them an overall record of 3–7 and 2–3 in the league.

To start the game, both teams brought out alumni from their respective football programs as honorary captains for the opening coin toss. Fordham chose Andy Lukac, Fordham College Rose Hill, (FCRH) ’51, and John Skelton, Gabelli School of Business Rose Hill, (GSBRH) ’10 and former Arizona Cardinals quarterback, to stand with the team. Vince Promuto, a former Washington Redskins All-Pro, and Gordie Lockbaum, a College Football Hall of Fame inductee, represented Holy Cross. In addition to the alumni, members of the military also represented each team in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Fordham won the toss and elected to receive the ball. Jihaad Pretlow, FCRH’18, returned the opening kickoff 26 yards to the Fordham 32-yard line. After starting the drive with three consecutive complete passes by Kevin Anderson, FCRH ’17, and three rushes by Chase Edmonds, FCRH ’18, Fordham scored. Edmonds broke free for a 41-yard touchdown run to give Fordham the first score. After an extra point, Fordham was up 7–0 with 12:18 remaining in the first quarter.

On Holy Cross’ first drive of the game, Fordham’s staunch defense held Holy Cross without getting a first down, and return the ball to the Rams’ offense. To start Fordham’s second drive, Anderson completed three consecutive passes of 20, 17 and 18 yards. Three plays later, Edmonds rushed for a one-yard touchdown with 7:25 remaining, and after a successful extra point, Fordham led 14–0.

After a 38-yard kickoff return, Holy Cross started their second drive from their own 48-yard line. Eight plays later, Holy Cross turned the ball over on downs at Fordham’s 24-yard line with 4:23 remaining in the first. Then, wide receiver Corey Caddle, FCRH ’20, caught a screen pass, which he then threw for a 27-yard pass to Jorge Solano, FCRH ’19, for another Fordham score. At the end of the first quarter, the Rams led the Crusaders 21–0. Fordham’s offense dominated the first quarter with over 200 total yards compared to Holy Cross’ 50 yards.

Both teams started the second quarter with stalled drives. It wasn’t until Fordham received the ball with 10:53 quarter that they were able to drive the length of the field and get the first score of the quarter. Fordham marching down the field set up Edmonds’ third touchdown of the day with 7:10 remaining in the half. However, Holy Cross responded quickly with a 55-yard pass which set up an eight-yard touchdown run, cutting the lead to 27–7.
The game wasn’t limited to just onfield action between the teams. During a media timeout, Fordham celebrated its donors, who combined donated $45.6 million dollars to the school in the 2016 fiscal year. Rev. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., thanked the donors for their contributions during the presentation.

After the timeout, Fordham began its next drive with passes of 23, 21 and 14 yards. A 17-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to tight end Isaiah Searight, FCRH ’20, brought the score to 33–7 with 3:50 left in the second quarter. Despite a strong start to their next drive, Holy Cross’ offense slowed down after a failed fourth-down attempt. On Fordham’s next drive, Anderson completed a 60-yard pass to Austin Longi, FCRH ’20, to set up the Rams with first-and-goal from the two-yard line. On the ensuing play, Anderson threw a two-yard touchdown pass to Robbie Cantelli, FCRH ’17, and the completed extra point put Fordham up 40–7 to end the half.

After a halftime performance by the Holy Cross marching band, the Crusaders started the second half with a touchdown drive capped off by a 36-yard pass to cut the deficit to 40–14. On Fordham’s first drive of the half, the Rams marched 81 yards in 10 plays to take a 47–14 lead after a seven-yard touchdown pass from Anderson to Longi. Fordham’s defense once again came up strong with a six-yard sack on the first play of the next drive. They forced a turnover on downs to end the third quarter.

A slow start to the fourth quarter ended when Edmonds capped off the scoring with his fourth touchdown of the game. The final score was a resounding Fordham victory 54–14.
Edmonds’ 119 rushing yards moved him into first place for career rushing yards in the Patriot League. This was also his 25th 100-yard game of his career, which is a Fordham record. After completing his first 10 throws, Anderson finished 28-33 on pass attempts for 426 yards, which moved him into fifth place for Fordham career passing yards.

After the game, Head Coach Andrew Breiner made it clear that this was an all-around team victory. He put the praise on his players when he said, “Ideas don’t win football games. Execution does.” Breiner also expressed how the program does more than just breed football players. “I couldn’t be prouder of them as football players and, more importantly, as people,” he said.

Next week, the Rams travel to Lewisburg, Pennsylvania to take on the Bucknell Bison in another Patriot League matchup. A win this week puts Fordham in prime position for a playoff opportunity, but they are just focused on Bucknell for now. “Hopefully we have a shot at postseason play, but we attack every game the same,” Anderson said after the game.

(COVER PHOTO BY SABRINA JEN/THE OBSERVER)