Two Subpar Seasons Leave Rams Looking to Escape Division Basement


After finishing 2-4 in the Patriot League last season, the Rams hope to recover for the upcoming season. (Courtesy of Fordham Sports)

Published: August 25, 2010

Following a disappointing 2009 season, the Fordham University men’s football team is looking to make great strides forward. The Rams finished fifth in the Patriot League with an overall record of 5-6 and a conference record of 2-4.

This is the second straight season that the Rams have finished with a 5-6 overall record.  Furthermore, the 2-4 conference record is only a slight improvement over the team’s 1-5 conference record in 2008. The Rams are hoping to rediscover the form that led them to a 9-4 overall record, a 5-1 conference record, and the Patriot League Championship during the 2007 season.

Following the loss of John Skelton, FCRH ’10 to the NFL draft, the Rams offense will have to address the hole at the quarterback position

Skelton was a four-year starter for the team and had an impressive 2009 season, amassing 3,708 yards, a 64.4 completion percentage, 26 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions.

Ryan Higgins, FCRH ’13, Blake Wayne, FCRH ’13, and Doug Papy, FCRH ’12 will battle for the Ram’s starting quaterback spot. Papy is the only one of them with any college football experience. Last season the junior played in three games attempting just one pass.

Despite the uncertainty at the quarterback position, there are many bright spots at other positions.

The Rams’ two leading rushers from a season ago, Xavier Martin FCRH ’11, and Darryl Whiting, FCRH ’12, are both returning. Martin gained 666 yards on 129 carries, scoring six touchdowns and averaging 5.2 yards a carry. Whiting gained 681 yards on 132 carries, scoring five touchdowns and averaging 5.2 yards a carry as well.

Tight end Stephen Skelton, FCRH ’11, John Skelton’s brother, returns following a season where he was second on the team in receptions (63), third in touchdowns (six) and fourth in yards (634). Skelton was named 2010 First Team Preseason All-America by The Sports Network and Phil Steele’s College Football Preview.

Jason Caldwell, FCRH ’11, a 2010 team captain, is looking to improve on his most successful season with the Rams. Last season, Caldwell led the team in receptions (79), yards  (1,252) and touchdowns (nine).

In 2009 Caldwell earned 2009 All-America honors from the Associated Press, The Sports Network and The College Sporting News and was named First Team All-Patriot League. During the 2010 preseason Caldwell was named 2010 First Team Preseason All-American and Preseason First Team All-Patriot League by Phil Steele’s College Preview.

The 2009 season started unsuccessfully for the Rams as they opened with a 41-28 road loss to Rhode Island. The team was unable to rebound following this loss, dropping their next two games, a 40-28 home loss to Columbia and a 20-12 road loss to Colgate. Though the season seemed in peril, the only conference loss during this stretch was to Colgate.

The Rams would turn things around by reversing their three game losing streak with a three game winning streak. The win streak included a 34-29 road win over Old Dominion, a 35-7 road win over Bryant University, and a 39-27 home win over Cornell.

Despite momentum the team gained from the streak, the Rams were unable to capitalize and carry it over to conference play. The team would stumble out of the gates, taking a tough 6-21 road loss to Lafayette and a 41-27 home loss to Holy Cross.

The 0-3 conference start proved to be too much for the team to overcome. The Rams would rebound to win two of their final three conference games, but finished fifth in the division.  The two teams that the Rams defeated, Bucknell and Georgetown, finished just below them, at the bottom of the division.

The Rams hope that their two big freshmen offensive linemen Kai Brusch, FCRH ’14, (6’4 270) and Steven Tapia, FCRH ’14, (6’5 300) can help provide the kind of blocking that will take this team to the next level. With great senior leadership and an infusion of young talent, the Rams will attempt to recapture the Patriot League Championship for the first time in three years.

The journey begins with the season opener at Bryant University on Saturday, September 4th.