Football Finishes Season 4–2 in Patriot League

Despite being eliminated from Patriot League title contention and dropping the final two games of the season, those outcomes cannot overshadow an otherwise remarkable Fordham Football season that saw the program make tremendous individual leaps, create team success in a challenging schedule and set the stage for an even more exciting future.

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Fordham football closes its season with a winning record in the Patriot League. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

Dylan Balsamo, Managing Editor

By the time the Fordham football team took the field for its final matchup of the 2021 season on the road against Colgate University last Saturday, it had unfortunately already been eliminated from winning the Patriot League and qualifying for postseason contention in the NCAA’s Football Championship Subdivision (FCS). While there were already lots of positives to take from a season of improvement and steady incline for the team and program as a whole, there was still one final game to play before Fordham could put 2021 behind them.

Fordham lost to the home Raiders 45–31 on Crown Field at Andy Kerr Stadium in that final game. The Rams committed five turnovers during the game that contributed to their two-score defeat. With the loss, Fordham closed out 2021 at 4–2 in the Patriot League after being 4–0 in the conference entering the final two weeks of the season. Fordham ended with a 6–5 record overall on the season, with all six wins coming consecutively between Sept. 25 at Stony Brook University and Nov. 6 at Georgetown University.

Fordham was actually within one score late in the game, as a burst by graduate running back Zach Davis on fourth and goal made the game 38–31 with 5:54 remaining in the fourth quarter. Fordham then held Colgate from scoring on its next possession, but senior quarterback Tim DeMorat was stripped of the ball at the Rams 12 yard line that Colgate brought in for another touchdown.

With the game came one final opportunity for each of Fordham’s standouts to make theirl mark on their 2021 campaign. DeMorat, who had a program-defining year and frequented the Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week conversation, threw for another 350 yards, completing 29 of his 48 passes and two touchdowns through the air. This was the sixth career 300-yard game for DeMorat. 

The Rams’ pair of junior wide receivers, M.J. Wright and Dequece Carter, ended their seasons with quality offensive and scoring numbers as well, marking just the second time this year that the Rams had two receivers with 100 yards. Wright finished the day with 119 yards on 13 catches, and Carter nabbed a touchdown to go with his six receptions and 127 yards.

Fordham also had performances to remember on the other side of the ball. Freshman linebacker James Conway, who entered the game second in the NCAA in tackles per game and has himself had a fair share of Patriot League recognition this season, had his eighth game with double-digit tackles this season, finishing with 12 tackles, eight of them solo and one for loss. He was accompanied on the defensive front by Tyler Cook, the junior linebacker who tackled nine Raiders, including a sack of quarterback Michael Brescia. Fordham had seven tackles for loss overall.

The only true advantage that Colgate had over Fordham during the Saturday afternoon affair was offensive stability to not turn the ball over and lose their most vital offensive opportunities. Two of Fordham’s five turnovers came on fumbles, and the Rams only held the ball for a little over 21 minutes. The game was certainly not a bad one for Fordham, but nevertheless, it ended the season with a bad taste in their mouths.

In viewing the season from a broader perspective, the bright sides seem even more fruitful. Senior wide receiver Fotis Kokosoulis scored one of the Rams’ touchdowns and finished the year with 11 total, a mark that ties him for fourth on Fordham’s single-season touchdown list. Conway set another record with 131 tackles, Fordham’s highest mark for a freshman.

And then, of course, there’s DeMorat.

Over the course of this season, DeMorat solidified himself as a quarterback that will be long remembered in the Fordham football program. He threw 31 touchdown passes in 2021, the third-most in a season by a Ram. He has 67 career touchdowns, which puts him ahead of Mike Nebrich for third on the Rams’ list. DeMorat also had 3,212 passing yards this year, the fourth-most for a Ram in a single season, and his 8,570 yards in the air over his career is the second-most the program has seen. And he may come back for more.

All of these came along with a conference season that saw just two losses and an overall schedule featuring matchups with opponents like the University of Nebraska and Florida Atlantic University that put Fordham Football on the map. All of that came following a 4–8 2019 season and three games in spring 2021 that showed promise.

In essence, that promise came true.

As Fordham closes the book on the 2021 season, it has shown there is potential for what the program has in store in the coming years, with head coach Joe Conlin having signed a contract extension earlier this month to lead this program into whatever comes next.

And whatever comes next is bound to be good for Fordham Football.