The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer

The Student Voice of Fordham Lincoln Center

The Observer


Fordham Football Defeats University of Buffalo, 40-37

An exhilarating second-half comeback led to the Rams’ third ever win over an FBS opponent
MJ Wright, GGSB ’25, and Jaden Allen, FCRH ’25, celebrate in the end zone after scoring the game-winning touchdown.

Fordham emerged victorious on Saturday against the University of Buffalo (UB) Bulls, leaving UB Stadium with a 40-37 win. The back-and-forth affair between the Rams and the Bulls included a double-digit comeback and five lead changes, ultimately resulting in Fordham’s third win against a Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent. The victory marks a major mark of success for the new-look Rams, as well as a potential good omen for what is to come, with Fordham looking to continue its success from past seasons. 

The Rams entered Saturday’s game with a 1-1 record. Fordham dropped its season opener, an uncompetitive contest against the University of Albany Great Danes in which the football team did not score their first touchdown until the third quarter and lost 34-13. The squad bounced back in remarkable fashion, dominating the Wagner College Seahawks at home, 46-16. 

These contrasting outcomes meant that the Rams entered this weekend’s competition without a clearly defined direction or notable expectations for the season. Sophomore quarterback CJ Montes, Fordham College at Rose Hill (FCRH) ’26, for instance, completed 18 of 31 passes for 198 yards and a touchdown in the season opener, but he exploded for 319 yards and five touchdowns in the team’s ensuing victory against the Seahawks. 

MJ Wright, GGSB ’25, falls into the end zone for the game-winning touchdown as Rams celebrate on the sideline. (COURTESY OF FORDHAM ATHLETICS)

The Fordham football team features a number of new starters this season, and many returning players have taken up a larger role than in previous years. For example, quarterback Tim DeMorat, FCRH ’23; linebacker Ryan Greenhagen, Gabelli Graduate School of Business (GGSB) ’23; wide receivers Fotis Kokosioulis, FCRH ’23, and Dequece Carter, Gabelli School of Business at Rose Hill (GSBRH) ’23; and running back Trey Sneed, GGSB ’23, all graduated after playing pivotal roles in Fordham’s success last season. This means that Montes; James Conway, FCRH ’25; MJ Wright, GGSB ’25; Mekai Felton, FCRH ’24; and Julius Loughridge, FCRH ’25, respectively, have assumed the reins to lead Fordham going forward. 

The transition appears to be going swimmingly, as the Rams built on the momentum from their blowout win against Wagner to take down the Bulls. It did not always appear that the game would result in such a memorable victory.

In Fordham’s third game of the season, Buffalo quickly jumped out to a 14-point lead, after a blocked punt led to the Bulls’ second touchdown in the first five minutes of the game. The Rams nearly swung the pendulum of momentum after appearing to have acrobatically blocked the extra point attempt and returning it for a score, but a couple of penalties brought the play back. Buffalo did not make the same mistake twice and knocked the extra point through the second time around. 

The victory marks a major mark of success for the new-look Rams, as well as a potential good omen for what is to come, with Fordham looking to continue its success from past seasons. 

The Rams responded with a field goal on their next drive, but the Bulls kept rolling. Buffalo opened the second quarter with yet another touchdown, quickly stretching its lead out to 21-3. Nearly 20 minutes into the game, Fordham finally woke up. 

A 46-yard completion to Wright rapidly moved the Rams up the field before Montes connected with Felton in the corner of the end zone for Fordham’s first touchdown of the game. The quick answer propelled Fordham within striking distance.

The next major boost for the Rams’ cause came on the next drive. Buffalo marched down the field to Fordham’s one-yard line, but the visitors’ defensive line stuffed Mike Washington, Jr., UB ’26, to force a turnover on downs. Starting inside of their own five-yard line, the Rams began their trip down the length of the field. 

Loughridge found a gap in the defense, rushing for 30 yards into Buffalo’s territory. As time wound down in the second quarter, Montes reached the end zone once again. Another touchdown from Felton cut the lead to 21-17, leaving 1:53 remaining in the half. 

With such little time on the clock, it seemed inevitable that the half would end uneventfully, but Fordham’s defense had other plans. Forcing an immediate three-and-out, the Rams received the ball with 1:33 left and a decent field position. A couple of solid plays pushed Fordham down the field and into field goal range, leading to a Brandon Peskin, GSBRH ’24, field goal in the final minute to bring the Rams within one point of the lead heading into the half. 

Opening the third quarter, both offenses struggled. Fordham found a stroke of luck when Buffalo’s returner failed to corral a swirling punt. The Rams recovered the ball and found themselves on Buffalo’s 11-yard line. 

Fordham quickly capitalized, as Montes completed a pass to Loughridge to give the Rams the lead — but on the ensuing extra point attempt, a chaotic scene developed. The Bulls blocked the kick and successfully returned the ball the distance of the field for a two-point defensive conversion. Unlike the attempted block and return by Fordham earlier in the game, there were no flags to negate the impressive play and instead of being down by six points, Buffalo only trailed 26-23. 

On Buffalo’s next drive, it scored another touchdown to regain the lead. Fordham quickly began its mission to get back on top. As time wound down in the third quarter, Montes launched a deep ball to Wright, putting the Rams on their opponent’s three-yard line to begin the fourth quarter. 

Only time will tell if this win is a pivotal moment in the program’s quest for another FCS Championship berth this season.

Even with the advantageous field position, Fordham struggled to force the ball into the end zone. The offense quickly found itself facing a pivotal fourth down with two yards to the goal line. Montes remained calm under pressure as he stepped back to throw and delivered a looping ball to Garrett Cody, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences ’24, along the side of the end zone. A successful extra point left the score at 33-30, but the game was far from over. 

Buffalo moved down the field methodically. The drive culminated in a 36-yard touchdown from quarterback Cole Snyder to Marlyn Johnson, both UB ’24. Just like that, the Bulls were back on top, 37-33, with only 8:03 left on the clock. 

The Rams received the ball in search of a touchdown to take the lead once again. Montes was dynamic, moving the ball with his arms and his legs. Whether it was an 11-yard completion or a 12-yard rush, the leader of Fordham’s offense was the catalyst on what would be the Rams’ final offensive possession. 

Nearly 20 minutes into the game, Fordham finally woke up.

Now operating within striking distance of the goalline, Montes finally found Wright running a short checkdown route. Wright quickly turned upfield and navigated his way through the defense for a 15-yard touchdown. The Rams finally regained their lead, 40-37, but they left 2:32 for the Bulls to level the contest, or even end it.

Buffalo started on their own 25-yard line, but in a handful of plays they had already entered Fordham’s side of the field. A 17-yard strike from Snyder set the Bulls’ offense up on the Rams’ 36-yard line, just on the edge of field goal range. With under a minute remaining and facing fourth down, Buffalo elected to kick a 54-yard field goal to tie the game. 

The crowd fell silent as Alex McNulty, UB ’24, lined up the decisive kick. He made solid contact, and the kick had the distance, but it carried narrowly wide of the upright, all but securing the Fordham victory. 

Montes finished with another five touchdowns and over 300 passing yards while Loughridge added 106 rushing yards and a receiving touchdown. Wright was another star on offense, totaling 159 receiving yards and the game-winning touchdown. Conway ended with 13 tackles on the defensive end. 

After the game, Coach Joe Conlin emphasized the importance of the win, underlining the “tremendous resilience” that the Rams demonstrated in the face of adversity. Fordham has received a number of accolades in the wake of its unexpected victory, including four Rams being named Patriot League Football Players of the Week and Fordham being ranked 22nd in this past week’s Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Coaches Poll.

Only time will tell if this win is a pivotal moment in the program’s quest for another FCS Championship berth this season. The Rams will have an off-week before returning to Rose Hill to take on Stonehill College on Sept. 23.

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About the Contributor
CHRIS MURRAY, Former Sports & Health Editor
Chris Murray (he/him), FCRH ’24, is a former sports & health editor at The Observer. He is a political science and humanitarian studies double major with a minor in psychology. He is a Mets, Knicks and Rangers fan and spends his time trying new food or enjoying the outdoors.

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