Football Records First Win of Season Against Stony Brook

Fordham+Football+won+their+first+game+of+the+season+with+a+dominating+performance+over+the+Seawolves.+%28Courtesy+of+Fordham+Athletics%29

Fordham Football won their first game of the season with a dominating performance over the Seawolves. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Dylan Balsamo, Managing Editor

The first few games of the season have been difficult for Fordham Football. The individual achievements have been present on the field, but a few tough breaks and a myriad of strong opponents at the top of the schedule left them 0–3 to begin 2021. 

But that all changed on Saturday. The Rams went into LaValle Stadium at Stony Brook University and emerged victorious against the Seawolves 31-14. With the win, Fordham improved to 1–3 a third of the way through the season. It was also the Rams’ first ever win over Stony Brook since the latter entered NCAA Division I athletics. 

The game saw the Rams do most everything right, executing in the big moments and holding onto the ball when it mattered most. The Rams found themselves in the red zone four times during the game and wound up scoring on all four occasions. The offense also did not commit any turnovers Saturday, while the defense grabbed three turnovers from the Seawolves with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. 

Fordham got things started immediately on Long Island, or at least they did after the game actually started.

The Rams were actually behind in their arrival to Stony Brook after their bus broke down, causing a slight delay in the game start.

But eventually the game did begin, and when it did, Fordham went to work.

On their opening drive, the Rams took five plays and a little over a minute of clock time to wind up in the end zone. Junior wide receiver Dequece Carter caught an 11-yard pass from senior quarterback Tim DeMorat to get the scoring started with a Fordham touchdown.

It was one of two touchdowns caught by Carter on Saturday and the first of four touchdowns thrown by DeMorat, the second such game of the latter’s illustrious Fordham career. DeMorat finished the game with 21 of 33 passes completed and a total of 280 yards. The efforts earned him Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week honors for the second time.

Stony Brook tied things up before the first quarter was over, going 80 yards down the field over five-plus minutes on the following drive, ending with a 20-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Tyquell Fields to wide receiver Seba Nekhet. That tied the game up at seven apiece.

Fordham took the reins on offense from there. 

In the second quarter, the Rams began a drive at their own nine-yard line and spent the next five minutes making their way down the field. By the end of the effort, senior receiver Fotis Kokosoulis caught a four-yarder from DeMorat to finish off a 14-play, 91-yard drive and give the Rams a 14–7 lead.

Come time for the second half, the Rams blew the doors open.

They scored two touchdowns in the third quarter to put themselves far ahead and toward that elusive first win of the season. Fifth-year wide receiver Hazme El-Zayat caught an 18-yard toss from DeMorat, ending another long drive, this one for 75 yards on seven plays, to give the Rams a two-score advantage. The second march to the end zone ended an even longer drive, 97 yards to be exact, and was finished on a 40-yard catch by Carter to score and make the difference between the Rams and the Seawolves 28–7. 

Near the start of the fourth, Stony Brook got back within striking distance when Nekhet ran a ball into the end zone for 10 yards, making the score 28–14. But the Rams scored once more before the game’s end, when senior kicker Nick Leinenweber knocked in a field goal from 25 yards to put the game away. At the buzzer’s sound, the final score was 31-14 in favor of the Rams. The day may have started with a broken down bus, but it ended with Fordham finally getting victory number one of the season.

Following the win, Fordham head coach Joe Conlin was very pleased with his team’s performance, not just the improved offense, but the whole squad.

“I thought it was a good team win,” Colin said. “Offense, defense and special teams, I felt like we did some good things on all three phases.”

One of the top performers during the win was a player who at this point is quite familiar with individual success: senior linebacker Ryan Greenhagen. Greenhagen recorded his fourth consecutive game of double-digit tackles with 16 stops, two for loss, a sack and even an interception. 

Greenhagen’s fellow linebacker, freshman James Conway recorded 11 tackles himself and was named Patriot League Rookie of the Week.

But a team is more than just linebackers like Greenhagen or Conway and a quarterback like DeMorat. It was a completely collaborative effort that lead to Fordham’s first win, a win that Conlin is happy came before conference play begins next week:

“We play in a very tough conference, so to get a win out of one of these four games is pretty good. We’ve got a tough test this week.”

That tough test comes in the form of that first Patriot League matchup, a road game against Lafayette College at Fisher Stadium in Easton, Pennsylvania on Saturday.

And with their first win under their belt, the Rams begin their conference schedule looking to build upon their success.