Football Dominates in Home “Opener” Against Colgate

Fordham Football’s defense dominated with seven turnovers, leading to 40 points on the offensive side of the ball and a rout of the Colgate Raiders to stay in contention for the Patriot League Championship.

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Fordham’s defense swarmed Colgate on the day to produce seven turnovers and provide little chance of success for the Raiders. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Dylan Balsamo, Managing Editor

To call Fordham Football’s game against Colgate University on Saturday their home opener for the 2020 season is rather odd for a number of reasons, chief among them the fact the game was not played in 2020 and that there is a chance it will be the only home game Fordham plays in this month and a half long season.

In a similar spirit, to call the Rams’ 40-8 victory over Colgate at Jack Coffey Field on Saturday an uplifting win for Fordham is rather odd, considering it is a complete understatement of the afternoon’s outcome.

The win, a triumphant one for Fordham, puts them at 1-1 on the ever so short spring season, keeping them in contention in the Patriot League’s one-off North division for a spot in the conference’s Championship Game, a format unique to this season.

The Rams were able to capitalize on what became an oddly unstable game for Colgate, who committed seven turnovers, enough to take any team out of the game if the opposing offense is good enough.

And Fordham’s offense is good enough.

DeMorat (above) lived up to this Preseason Player of the Year billing with his performance against Colgate. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Led by the man who usually steers the ship on the gridiron, junior quarterback Tim DeMorat not only threw two touchdown passes but also ran in two himself, capitalizing on a day where he completed 22 of 31 passes and brought his team forward a total of 274 yards just with his arm alone.

On the offensive side of the ball, DeMorat was accompanied in his ventures of Colgate conquering by his right hand man, senior running back Trey Sneed. Sneed had himself a day as well, gaining 93 yards on the ground over 23 carries while running for two touchdowns. Not to mention that Sneed also gained 62 yards in the air, catching five of DeMorat’s 31 passes.

The Rams’ defense, which of course held the Raiders to just eight points, had their share of standouts. Sophomore defensive back Stephen Williams II recorded two interceptions and returned a fumble for 25 yards, being named Patriot League Defensive Player of the Week for his efforts. His teammate, senior defensive lineman Jeremy Imperati, picked off a ball himself and ran it back for one of Fordham’s five touchdowns on the afternoon.

Leading the way for the Fordham defense, however, was another name those who follow the conference’s honors will recognize, Ryan Greenhagen. The junior linebacker recorded seven solo tackles, sixteen tackles total and a pivotal pass breakup.

After seeing valuable time his freshman season, Williams II (above) had his breakout game against Colgate. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Fordham got their monstrous day started just five minutes into the game after forcing the first Raiders turnover. Williams’ first pick of the day resulted in a 49-yard drive that ended with DeMorat recording the first of his two rushing touchdowns, this one for just a yard. Before the quarter was over, another Colgate interception brought the Rams another seven points. Imperati intercepted a Raiders pass on the Colgate three yard line and quickly marched it back. By the end of the first quarter, the Rams led 14-0 and showed no sign of slowing down.

Only fifteen minutes into the affair, the Rams were in complete control. 

Fordham nabbed one more touchdown in the second quarter, as DeMorat ran in his second rushing touchdown in the first half alone, giving his team a 21-0 lead as they headed to the locker room for halftime.

In the second half, Colgate finally got on the board after a third quarter touchdown run of one yard by senior quarterback Grant Breneman at the end of a 75-yard drive to get them to eight points on the day. Senior wide receiver Nick Draught caught a pass to complete a two-point conversion. But Fordham also scored in the quarter, gaining three points on a field goal off the foot of junior kicker Nick Leinenweber, putting the score at 24-8 entering the final fifteen minutes. Leinenweber went on to be named the conference’s Special Teams Player of the Week as a result.

After producing one in the opener, Sneed has pounded in three rushing touchdowns and has over 100 receiving yards on this shortened season. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

And in that fourth quarter, the Rams kicked the barn doors open.

Sneed secured two more touchdowns all by himself, capping off two different quick drives with two yard and three yard runs, respectively and solidifying him as the Offensive Player of the Week. And then with a minute and change left to play, to put the icing on the cake for Fordham, freshman linebacker Tyler Cook put Colgate even deeper in the ground, securing a safety and giving Fordham their final two points on route to a 40-8 reckoning of the Raiders.

As one might imagine, after a game like this, Fordham head coach Joe Conlin did not have an awful lot to say, aside from the obvious:

“I’m very pleased with the result,” he said, on video chat from his offices in the Vince Lombardi Center. “The defense played great, [that many] takeaways is huge. I thought the secondary was outstanding. Colgate [have been] the class of this league for the last five or ten years… To be able to win against that team, spring, fall or whenever, is a great thing.”

And naturally, after doing great things comes the quest for greater things.

The Rams will play next on Saturday, April 10 at 1:00 p.m. on the road against Bucknell University, in a rescheduling of a game that had been postponed during the first week of this spring season.

More is to come in the next few weeks for Fordham football, and, no matter what you call this first home game for the Rams, they have never looked more up to the challenges ahead.