Fordham extended their win streak on Saturday to five with a convincing defeat over the visiting Penn Quakers, 60-22.
In something of a recurring trend, Fordham started poorly and allowed Penn to score the game’s first points. The Quakers only needed two plays to travel 77 yards. Eric Fiore ran for 44 yards on the first play, and then Alex Torgersen hit Ryan O’Malley for a 33 yard strike.
Fordham responded on their next drive, but did not take the lead until late in the first quarter. Chase Edmonds finished the Rams’ scoring drive with a 3 yard score, after Michael Nebrich set up the score with long passes to Sam Ajala and Tebucky Jones Jr. The Quakers would soon respond though, as Spencer Kulcsar ran for 42 yards to set up a Jimmy Gammill field goal that put Penn up 10-7. With 2:48 in the first quarter, Fordham’s defense took matters into its own hands, as Austin Hancock sacked Torgersen and forced a fumble that DeAndre Slate recovered and ran in for the score. Fordham led 14-10 at the end of the first quarter, but the best was yet to come.
Both teams moved the ball in the second quarter, and the game remained competitive for most of the quarter. On the quarter’s first play, Nebrich found Jones in the back of the end zone on a perfect 37 yard pass. Then both teams went empty on red-zone trips. First, Penn faltered when Torgerson was intercepted by De’Na Pickney, and then kicker Michael Marando hit the left upright on a 38 yard attempt. Penn used a 57 yard run from Tre Solomon and another Gammill field goal to make it 21-13 with six minutes in the half.
Yet Fordham blew the game open with two touchdowns in two minutes, and amassed a 43-19 at halftime. Fordham first scored on a 47 yard bomb to Tebucky Jones, and after a defensive stop from the Rams, Nebrich did it again with an 80 yard pass to a streaking Sam Ajala. In two minutes, Nebrich completed four passes for 145 yards and gave the Rams a 35-13 lead. Fordham even sandwiched another touchdown between two Penn field goals, as Nebrich found Brian Wetzel in the end zone on a five yard pass, and then hit lineman Brett Biestek for a two-point conversion. At the half, Fordham was comfortably on their way to victory, and Nebrich had already thrown for 450 yards and 4 TD passes.
The first half trends continued after the break, as Nebrich threw two more TD passes after Penn settled for another field goal. The Quakers actually had a chance early in the third quarter to come back following a Nebrich interception, but they failed to take advantage of a short field and only made it 43-22 on Gammill’s fifth field goal. Fordham made the Quakers pay, as Nebrich picked the Penn defense apart before finding Marcus Jones for his fifth passing TD. After Penn had to punt, Nebrich worked his magic again, completing three passes for 49 yards and another touchdown. With 5:15 left in the third quarter, Fordham led 57-22 and Nebrich had already tied a school record with 6 passing TDs and set one with 551 yards.
Penn tried twice to cut into the Fordham lead, but the Ram defense again stood firm in the red zone. First, De’Andre Slate forced a fumble that Ian Williams recovered. On the Quakers’ second threatening drive, the defense held firm and stopped Penn in a goal-to-go situation. Nebrich then completed one final pass before Peter Maetzold replaced him, and the Fordham backups marched down the field to help Marando finish the scoring with and 18 yard field goal. The Rams ended with a 60-22 win, and Michael Nebrich was the unquestioned MVP.
Despite the convincing score line and offensive heroics, Fordham’s defense will have their hands full in film sessions this week. The Rams allowed 510 yards to the 0-4 Quakers, and Penn reached the red zone seven times. Incredibly, the Quakers scored just 12 points on seven red zone trips, but a better team would have punished Fordham’s mediocre defense. Most concerning to Coach Moorhead would be Fordham’s inability to prevent the big play, as Penn reeled off plays of 20+ yards on almost every first half drive.
Nevertheless, Fordham’s record-setting offensive execution was impeccable, and Nebrich deserves credit for that. He finished with a school-record 566 yards, and the Rams 730 yards of total offense set another school mark. In fact, the 566 passing yards and 730 total yards of offense are the highest single-game totals in FCS football this season. It was truly a record-setting day at Jack Coffey Field.
The 6-1 Rams will enjoy a bye week before playing at Lehigh on October 25. Fordham’s next home game is scheduled for November 1.