Football Flies to Florida Atlantic, Falls to the Owls


Fordham is hoping that its offense, particularly the rushing attack, will pick up pace in Patriot League play. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

When it comes to college football, the state of Florida is theTaj Mahal. With so many storied institutions and collegiate football programs calling the state home, it is understandable why a matchup for Fordham Football with Florida Atlantic University, their second Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) opponent in three games, was such a marked moment on their 2021 schedule, even though it eventually resulted in a loss.

To be exact, that loss was by a score of 45-14 against the Owls in an evening matchup at FAU Stadium in Boca Raton. The Rams only scored twice, likely the result of the fact that they produced just 237 total yards to FAU’s 547. Fordham also only had 29 rushing yards and were just 1-15 on third down conversions. The Rams also had 81 total penalty yards. 

The only scoring in the first quarter came on the Owls’ behalf, when quarterback N’Kosi Perry finished a 10-play, 71-yard drive for FAU with a two-yard run into the end zone. They had a 7-0 lead over Fordham.

The Rams, to their credit, kept themselves in the game by getting on top of things at the beginning of the next set of 15 minutes. On their first drive of the second quarter, Fordham secured a touchdown themselves, as senior quarterback Tim DeMorat, the reigning Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week, found his fellow senior, wide receiver Fotis Kokosoulis, for 14 yards to tie the game up at seven points apiece. Before the first half came to an end, the Owls retook the lead with haste as running back Larry McCammon ran into the end zone for six yards, the finale of a five-play, minute-long drive to give FAU a 14-7 lead.

The Eagles did not look back from there.

In the second half, FAU blew the barn doors open, taking advantage of a Fordham team that could not keep up with them offensively. The Owls made a big play on their first drive of the half to start to pull away. Wide receiver LaJohnta Wester caught a 25-yard pass from Perry to wind up in the end zone and give FAU a 21-7 lead. Later on in the quarter, Perry connected for another long touchdown pass, this one to receiver T.J. Chase for 17 yards. It ended a five minute drive for 67 yards and gave the Owls a 21-point advantage with just 15 minutes to play.

Fordham scored once more, as during the fourth quarter Rams junior wide receiver Dequece Carter caught a 48-yard DeMorat toss on the first play of the drive to give Fordham their first score since the second quarter and bring them within 14 points with a little under 10 minutes to go. 

It was all FAU from there.

Owls running back Kelvin Dean brought another touchdown in from the Fordham two yard line. Then, almost immediately after Fordham took the ball over, DeMorat threw an interception that FAU’s Teja Young returned for 22 yards. The score became 42-14 incredibly quick.

Owls kicker Aaron Shahriari added a 23-yard field goal before the game ended to put the final dagger into the Rams’ back. The final whistle blew at a score of 45-14 in favor of the Owls.

Fordham left Boca Raton on Saturday at 0-3 on the season after an incredibly difficult non-conference schedule to begin their 2021 season.

The good news for the Rams was that they continued to have players with standout individual performances worthy of weekly awards. For the second consecutive week, freshman linebacker James Conway was awarded the Patriot League Rookie of the Week after recording 15 tackles and recovering a fumble.

Before the game against FAU, Fordham head coach Joe Conlin had expressed confidence that the individual performances his team has celebrated this year would lead to a breakthrough in the win column.

“Monmouth was a playoff team last year,… and we gave them a heck of a game,” Conlin said, taking his usual optimistic approach on how the team has performed to this point. “Obviously, you ultimately want to win, but we have some guys who are playing really good football right now. We just have to continue to work to get better every week.”

The Rams who have been performing individually continued to do so during the game against the Owls. DeMorat, while certainly not taking home any hardware for his performance this past week, continued to climb up the Rams’ all-time lists for career touchdown passes, passing yards and completions, currently standing at fifth, fifth and fourth, respectively. Senior linebacker Ryan Greenhagen also recorded double digit tackles for the third consecutive week.

But despite all of that, Fordham remains winless in 2021.

Up next for the Rams: another road game, this one in Long Island, significantly closer to home, against Stony Brook University at LaValle Stadium at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday, September 25. The two teams have met four times prior, with the first two occurring while both programs were at the NCAA Division III level, as opposed to the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).

The Rams will also have to keep an eye out for Greenhagen, who missed a portion of the game on Saturday with an apparent injury.

One might argue that the difficult part of the season for Fordham is over. But for these Rams, the hurdles they plan on overcoming for this season are only just beginning.