Football Ends Season With Loss to New Hampshire in FCS Playoffs


Led by Tim DeMorat, the Fordham Football team concluded what was a historical season. (Courtesy of Fordham Athletics)

All good things come to an end.

A long, grueling and memorable season for Fordham Football has now concluded following a tough 52-42 loss against the University of New Hampshire last Saturday in the first round of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) Championship.

The Rams earned their sixth ever championship appearance and first since 2015 following a 9-2 regular season that was capped off with a 52-38 win over Colgate University at Jack Coffey Field on Nov. 19. In that game, senior quarterback Tim DeMorat tossed six touchdown passes while graduate student running back Trey Sneed totalled 230 yards rushing as Fordham secured their postseason bid.

DeMorat’s performance was one that Fordham fans have become accustomed to seeing. In a season where he threw for 4,891 yards and 56 touchdowns, DeMorat was named Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year last week. Both of those marks led both the Patriot League and the entire FCS.

Colgate matched the Rams throughout much of that contest, but Fordham were able to keep the Raiders at distance in the fourth quarter. An interception from graduate student Ryan Greenhagen sealed the win for Fordham, who were drawn against New Hampshire on selection Sunday just 24 hours later.

For Fordham, a postseason berth served as a reward for a record-setting offensive season that saw the Rams fall just short of a Patriot League title following an overtime loss to the College of the Holy Cross on Oct. 29. For New Hampshire, a successful season in the Colonial Athletic Conference earned them the right to host the Rams on Saturday, with the winner advancing to face that same Holy Cross team that Fordham were so eager to meet again.

But on Saturday in Durham, the Wildcats had all the answers for the Rams. Fordham turned the ball over three times, including a fumble on their opening possession of the game inside New Hampshire’s 10-yard line by Sneed. DeMorat threw two interceptions, both in the first half, allowing New Hampshire to take a 28-21 lead into halftime.

The Rams started the second half slowly as well, allowing Heron Maurisseau of New Hampshire to break a 71-yard touchdown on the half’s opening play. The Wildcats kept Fordham at bay throughout the third quarter, entering the fourth quarter with a 42-28 advantage. 

With their season on the line, the Rams answered immediately in the fourth with a touchdown from senior receiver Fotis Kokosioulis to cut the deficit to seven. After a New Hampshire field goal put them back up by 10, freshman defensive lineman Peter Chalhoub and the Fordham defense forced a fumble to give the Rams the ball back. But Fordham turned the ball over on downs, and New Hampshire extended the lead to 17 on their ensuing possession thanks to a Dylan Laube touchdown run.

Fordham got a touchdown back late, but it wasn’t enough as the Rams fell to New Hampshire 52-42.

After the game, Fordham head coach Joe Conlin said, “It’s tough to win on the road as it is, but it’s certainly very difficult when you spot them 21 points in the first quarter … I just didn’t think we executed like we needed to execute to win a playoff game against a good team on the road.”

Although this has been a successful season for the Rams by most measures, you can’t help but think about what could have been. In their two regular season losses to Ohio University and Holy Cross, Fordham had a lead late in the fourth quarter but couldn’t secure the victory. 

Those two games could have swung so easily in Fordham’s favor, which would have changed the entire outlook of this season. Instead of facing New Hampshire in the first round of the FCS Championship, the Rams could have had a marquee FBS win, a Patriot League title under their belts and a bye to the second round. But the Rams couldn’t seal the deal, giving the end of this season a different outlook.

In the end, Fordham’s defense let them down for large stretches this season. While DeMorat and company led the entire FCS in total offense, the defense sat dead last in the Patriot League in nearly all defensive metrics, whether it’s total defense, touchdowns allowed, rushing yards allowed or passing yards allowed. Despite this, the offense still turned the ball over in key areas and couldn’t convert on big fourth downs against New Hampshire. Neither unit played to their best of their ability against the Wildcats.

This also felt like it should have been Fordham’s year for another reason: so many of the key contributors from this team were either seniors or graduate students. With an extra year of COVID-19 induced eligibility, there’s no telling whether players will stay at Fordham or try their luck elsewhere in the transfer portal. But for players like DeMorat, Greenhagen and Kokosioulis, the professional ranks could be on the horizon. 

Either way, this Fordham team will look a lot different come next fall. And despite some tough losses, the Rams gave their fans a lot to cheer for this season.