Fordham Football Tops Wagner to Open 2022 Season

The Rams are back and ready to complete their unfinished business.


Tim DeMorat and the Rams unleashed their offensive firepower in the second half. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

All successful seasons have to start somewhere. The 2022 Fordham Football campaign is no different. While last season began with a highly publicized trip to the University of Nebraska, this season began in a slightly different way: with a trip to Staten Island.

On Thursday, Fordham used a strong second half to defeat Wagner College 48-31 in the opening game of the 2022 season. Senior quarterback Tim DeMorat led the way for the Rams, completing 18 of 25 passes for 386 yards and five touchdowns in addition to a rushing score.

It was a slow start for Fordham initially against a much-improved Wagner team that was winless a year ago. The Wagner Seahawks struck first midway through the first quarter with Ricky Spruill two-yard touchdown run. Fordham responded immediately on the following drive, with DeMorat finding senior wide receiver MJ Wright for a 36-yard score to knot things at seven. 

The Rams took the lead in the second quarter behind another long touchdown from DeMorat, this time to senior wide receiver Garrett Cody to put Fordham up a score. But, Naiem Simmons hauled in a 34-yard touchdown from Seahawks quarterback Nick Kargman to tie the game. 

Sloppy play from Fordham followed for the remainder of the half. After a big 65-yard screen pass to senior wide receiver Fotis Kokosioulis took the Rams all the way down to the one yard line, DeMorat was picked off on second and goal to keep Fordham off the board. Then, with the score still tied near the end of the half, a screen pass by DeMorat that was deflected at the line of scrimmage was ruled to be a backwards pass, allowing Wagner’s Christian Davis to scoop and score to give the Seahawks a 21-14 lead.

“Obviously there were a lot of mistakes in the first half,” Fordham head coach Joe Conlin said after the game. “We had opportunities to put it inside the five that we didn’t capitalize on.”

Things changed in the second half, with the Rams cleaning up their mistakes and clicking on offense. Wright hauled in another DeMorat touchdown four minutes into the third quarter, but a failed extra point attempt kept Wagner in front 21-20. The Seahawks added seven more four minutes later on a 29-yard Jayvin Little touchdown from Kargman, but Fordham took over from there.

Four straight Fordham touchdowns followed, starting with a 44-yard bomb from DeMorat to Kokosioulis to get the Rams within a point. Another long touchdown pass came with 30 seconds to play in the third quarter, this time a 42-yard strike to Cody. This gave the Rams a 34-28 lead and made it two touchdown catches each for Cody and Wright.

After a big fourth down stop by the Fordham defense with six minutes to go in the game, DeMorat grabbed his sixth total touchdown of the day with a two-yard run to put the Rams up 41-28. Graduate student running back Trey Snead further emphasized Fordham’s superiority with his first touchdown of the year, a four-yard rush that sealed the deal for the Rams. Wagner added a field goal late, but Fordham emerged victorious from Staten Island.

On the play of DeMorat, who was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts, Conlin said, “He stayed with it. Tim’s one of the toughest kids I’ve ever been around. I didn’t have to say anything to him at halftime because I knew he was more disappointed in himself than anyone else. He came out and played great in the second half …  the kid’s a winner.”

Alongside DeMorat, Fordham’s receivers had big days. Kokosioulis totaled 152 yards and a touchdown on seven catches, Cody added 83 yards and two scores on just two catches while Wright found the endzone twice on three catches for 79 yards. In the run game, sophomore Julius Loughridge handled the bulk of the carries, totalling 114 yards on 20 attempts. 

Graduate student linebacker Ryan Greehagen delivered a solid performance upon returning from an ACL related injury, recording a team-leading nine total tackles and a sack. Other Ram defenders with big games were graduate student defensive back Anthony Tony-Itoyah and senior linebacker Jackson Barletta, who each recorded an interception.

The Rams, who started 0-3 last season with some tough non-conference games, are off to a winning start in 2022. They’ll look to continue their momentum this Saturday with another road test against Monmouth University, a team that topped Fordham 24-23 in the second week of last season. Two more non-conference games follow that: the home opener against the University of Albany on Sept. 17 and a trip to Ohio University the following weekend. Patriot League play begins for the Rams at home against Georgetown University on Oct. 1, which is Family Weekend.

Despite the first half hiccups, Fordham Football has a lot to be happy about as they prepare for next week’s showdown against Monmouth University.