#26 Fordham FCS Football 2016 Preview

Fordham Rams
Overall Rank: #26
#1 Patriot
Fordham was one of two Patriot League teams to make the playoffs last season. They started the year with a big win over Army and cruised to a 5-1 record in conference action. That loss was to Colgate though and cost the Rams an outright Patriot League title. But that was enough for Fordham to get to the playoffs where they lost 50-20 to Chattanooga. Coach Joe Moorhead is now an assistant at Penn State, but everything should be similar for Fordham with offensive coordinator Andrew Breiner taking over the head coaching job.
2015 Record: 9-3, 5-1
2015 Postseason: FCS Playoffs
Coach: Andrew Breiner (0-0 at Fordham, 0-0 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Tyler Bowen
Defensive Coordinator: Tim Cary, Jon Wholley
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Chase Edmonds, RB, 1,648 yards
Passing: Kevin Anderson, QB, 3,183 yards
Receiving: Phazahn Odom, TE, 492 yards
Tackles: Nico Thorpe, LB, 78
Sacks: Nico Thorpe, LB, 5.0
Interceptions: Caleb Ham, DB, 3
Other Key Returnees: WR Corey Caddle, WR Austin Longi, WR Robbie Cantelli, OL Anthony Coyle, LB George Dawson, DB Jihaad Pretlow, DL Marlon Crook, K Makay Redd
Key Losses: OL Garrick Mayweather, LB Stephen Hodge, DB JQ Bowers, DB Lourenzo Smith
The Rams have one of the most potent offenses in the country. Running back Chase Edmonds rushed for 1,648 yards and 20 touchdowns as a sophomore and earned the conferences offensive player of the year award. Edmonds is a superb back and should be in for another huge season, especially with four starters returning to the offensive line. Quarterback Kevin Anderson threw for 3,183 yards and 32 touchdowns. More impressively, Anderson completed 67.0 percent of his passes. Wide receivers Corey Caddle and Robbie Cantelli and tight end Phazahn Odom are all back after catching at least 30 passes last season. Those three will be in for big years and the passing game will be tough for any defense to stop. That is especially true since most defenses will have to concentrate on trying to stop Edmonds.
The defense struggled at times last season, especially against the pass. With eight starters returning, there is reason to be optimistic, but the losses are big ones and two of them come in the struggling secondary. JQ Bowers was a second-team All-PLF honoree during his senior campaign and Lourenzo Smith was another regular starter in the secondary. The secondary needs to find replacements for those two and in the meantime will have to rely on Caleb Ham and Jihaad Pretlow. Pretlow broke up 12 passes and picked off two more and is a great piece to build around. The other loss is linebacker Stephen Hodge, who led the Rams with 119 tackles. George Dawson and Nico Thorpe, who combined for 8.0 sacks and 18.5 tackles-for-loss, will have to help fill the void. It was Dawson and Thorpe who got into the backfield on a regular basis, but with all four starters back on the line, there should be more consistent pressure from the front four.
The Bottom Line:
Fordham opens the season with a trip to Navy, but after that the schedule is very favorable. The Rams play Penn, Monmouth and Yale in other non-conference matchups. The big Patriot League game should again be against Colgate. This time that contest is in the Bronx and that should lead to an outright conference championship for Fordham.
Projected Postseason: FCS Playoffs
2015 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 180.9 (43rd in nation, 3rd in conference)
Passing Offense: 272.3 (20, 3)
Total Offense: 453.3 (18, 2)
Scoring Offense: 36.8 (9, 1)
Rushing Defense: 168.2 (61, 5)
Pass Defense: 256.7 (112, 7)
Total Defense: 424.8 (92, 5)
Scoring Defense: 30.6 (83, 5)
Turnover Margin: 1.08 (5, 1)
Sacks: 1.83 (74, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 3.58 (117, 7)
Madness 2016 Recruit Rankings:
#17 Alex Hall
#148 Maximillian Roberts