Fordham Extends Winning Streak to Five Games


Published: November 8, 2007

The Fordham University Rams extended their winning streak to five games with victories over Marist College and Lafayette University in the final two weekends of October.

The Rams traveled to Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., on Oct. 27 and shut out the Red Foxes 33-0 in their final non-conference game of the 2007 season. The Rams’ defense let Marist slip inside the red zone just twice, with one trip resulting in a missed field goal and the other leading to a Sam Orah, FCRH ’08, interception.

“We bent a few times on defense, but we got up and took the lead and eventually started making stops on third and fourth down,” head coach Tom Masella said.

The Rams quickly captured the lead, getting into the end zone twice in the first quarter and scoring touchdowns on four of their first five possessions.

Quaterback John Skelton, CBA ’10, punched the ball in on a one-yard keeper on the Rams’ first drive, then completed a 78-yard screen pass to Asa Lucas, FCRH ’10, on the Rams’ next possession.

Fordham never looked back after jumping out to the early lead and did not allow a scoring opportunity after Marist missed a field goal early in the first quarter.

“We know we can win playing from behind,” Masella said. “But when we get up early, our entire team plays better, especially on defense, because [holding the lead] allows us to be aggressive.”

Fordham added two 53-yard scoring drives in the second quarter, capped by touchdown runs from Xavier Martin, FCRH ’11, and Darryl Robinson, FCRH ’11, respectively. In the third, Adam Danko, FCRH ’09, tacked on a 32-yard field goal to give the Rams a 31-0 edge.

The Rams’ special teams would also add a safety in the fourth quarter, when Marist fumbled a Ben Dato, FCRH ’08, punt and recovered it in the end zone. Dato earned Patriot League Special Teams Player of the Week honors for his performance in the game, punting four times for 210 yards.

With the win, the Rams improve to 7-2 on the season and 5-0 on the road. The last Fordham squad to go undefeated on the road was the 1940 team, which played only one road contest.

On Oct. 20, the Rams took on three-time Patriot League champion Lafayette University in Easton, Penn. and won their fourth straight Patriot League game.

The Leopards got on the scoreboard first with a 76-yard scoring drive in the first quarter, culminating in a 21-yard touchdown run.

Fordham responded in the second quarter with a trio of their own touchdown runs, the first a goal- line quarterback-keeper courtesy of Skelton. Martin added scores of one and five yards later in the frame to go along with his team-high 43 yards on the ground to give Fordham a 21-6 advantage.

Lafayette was not fazed by the scores, however, and opened the second half by moving the ball 80 yards on 12 plays, setting up a 24-yard touchdown catch by Adam Gill.

A Lafayette field goal later in the third cut Fordham’s edge to 21-16.

Martin put the Rams in excellent position to respond by returning the ensuing kickoff 53 yards to the Lafayette 38. Then, faced with a third-and-nine, Skelton completed a 37-yard touchdown strike to Richard Rayburn, FCRH ’09, to stretch Fordham’s lead to 11 points.

“We took back the momentum when we converted the third down play for a touchdown; it kept the pressure on them,” Masella said.

Fordham’s defense then forced a three-and-out for the Leopards, setting up a Rams drive from the Fordham 49 yard-line.

Skelton wasted no time capitalizing on the good field position, completing a 51-yard touchdown pass to David Moore, FCRH ’11.

“They’re a big blitz team,” said Skelton, who threw for 323 yards and two scores in the game. “Once we figured out their approach, our receivers got open, and we were able to exploit their weaknesses down the field.”

For most teams, beating a perennial in-conference powerhouse is a confidence booster, but the Rams took their win at Lafayette as just another victory in a successful season that has the potential to end in a post*season run.

“We knew we were a good team going into the game, and we felt the same way coming out,” Masella said. “What the game showed us is that we’re in the mix for a Patriot League championship.”