COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS
Fordham Football Dominates Wagner 56-7 in Homecoming Game
Rams score 42 points in the first half, cruise to big win in return to Coffey Field
The Fordham football team crushed the winless Wagner College Seahawks 56-7 on Saturday, Oct. 9, in the centerpiece event of the university’s homecoming weekend. After impressive road victories against Stony Brook University and Lafayette College, the Rams’ most recent win at Coffey Field represents a complete turnaround in their 2021 season.
After the game, Head Coach Joe Conlin said that the homecoming crowd was a welcome change for the team, but it did not change the players’ mindsets in what would eventually be the Rams’ third straight victory.
“We love being at home, love being on the Jack (Coffey Field),” Conlin said. “At the same time, though, we don’t mind being on the road … I think the guys just love playing, and they love playing together.”
In the opening minutes of the game, it became instantly clear that Fordham had an advantage on both sides of the ball. After forcing Wagner to punt following eight plays, Fordham advanced with determination on offense. Quarterback Tim DeMorat, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’22, completed all five of his pass attempts, and Trey Sneed, FCRH ’22, bookended the drive with a strong 15-yard run on the first play and a four-yard scamper into the endzone to give the Rams an early 7-0 lead.
To cover the first half thereafter in detail would involve an overly long description of a relentless barrage. But by the end of the second quarter, the result of the game was no longer in question, as Fordham scored a touchdown on every single drive in the first half.
If Fordham had entered the locker room at halftime ahead 28-7, it’s likely that the team would have still felt comfortable for the remainder of the game. But in the final two minutes of the second quarter, DeMorat threw for two more scores in just eight total plays to take a prohibitive, practically insurmountable 42-7 lead.
In only 30 minutes of football, DeMorat threw for 339 passing yards and four touchdowns. Despite sitting out for the entire second half with most of the other starters, this was still one of the senior quarterback’s best statistical performances of the season across four quarters. His 19 completions in the game also bring his career total to 594, now the third most in Fordham football history.
DeMorat’s receivers obviously benefitted from his record-breaking day, especially Fotis Kokosioulis, FCRH ’22, who caught all seven of his targets for 101 yards and two touchdowns in just two quarters.
While the defensive starters were on the field, they seemed to easily handle Wagner. In the absence of Ryan Greenhagen, Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill ’22, who was on the sidelines but not dressed to play following an early exit against Lafayette last week, James Conway, FCRH ’25, was a highly capable replacement.
“I’m really excited because he (Conway) has a really bright future. He hasn’t even scratched the surface of what he can do.” Joe Conlin, head coach
The first-year linebacker racked up 12 tackles and forced a fumble in the second quarter that led to a Fordham touchdown. After his first six games of the season, Conlin said that Conway has quickly become one of the team’s most dependable contributors.
“He’s a very mature young man,” Conlin said. “Ryan Greenhagen has really taken James under his wing … I’m really excited because he has a really bright future. He hasn’t even scratched the surface of what he can do.”
To begin the second half, Fordham could not earn a first down, ending the team’s six-drive scoring streak in the game. The Rams immediately made up for it, however, forcing a Wagner turnover on downs and putting the ball back in the hands of backup quarterback Sean Holland, FCRH ’22. On the very first play of the drive, Holland saw a gap and blew right through the Seahawks’ defense for a 45-yard touchdown run, putting Fordham ahead 49-7.
In three seasons and six games in 2021, Holland has seen very limited action under center and primarily serves as the team’s holder on field goal attempts. But on homecoming weekend in what could be his final season, he, like many other backup players for Fordham, received an opportunity and took it. Conlin gave him the game ball in the locker room after the victory.
“He (Sean Holland) gives us everything he has everyday and he does a great job for the program.” Joe Conlin
“Sean’s a good athlete and has good speed, so he made it happen,” Conlin said. “It’s great to see … he gives us everything he has everyday and he does a great job for the program, so I’m happy for Sean and I’m happy for a lot of the guys.”
After a sleepy fourth quarter in which neither team scored, Fordham emerged with a 56-7 blowout victory and a 3-3 overall record. For fans at the game, Fordham’s victory meant much more than its ramifications on the Rams’ Patriot League prospects. It was an opportunity to see their team play in a world no longer paralyzed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though the result of the Wagner game was essentially a foregone conclusion before halftime, many fans remained in the stands until the final snap. On the street by Keating Hall behind Fordham’s endzone, a group of firefighters watched the game from atop their truck. One of them said, “we’re supporting our local community.”
Despite being locked down less than a year ago, a local resurgence at Fordham and in the Bronx was in full effect on Saturday as the football team bombarded a weaker opponent. The game didn’t perfectly represent the Rams’ abilities, and if ticket holders were interested in a competitive football game, they would have been disappointed when most of Fordham’s starters called it quits after a half. By the fourth quarter, some might argue that it wasn’t much of a game at all.
But as a celebration of Fordham, its history and its future, the Rams’ victory over the Seahawks was more timely than ever and stands as an undeniable sign that Rose Hill is alive once more. The team will return to Patriot League conference play next week in another home game against Bucknell University.