Fordham 2013 FCS Football Playoff Capsule

George Hammond

Fordham Rams


The Rams enjoyed their best season since the famous 1930 season and “Seven Blocks of Granite” moniker that included legendary coach Vince Lombardi. Fordham wasn’t eligible for the conference title this season, but it was eligible for an at-large berth. The Rams began to offer athletic scholarships in 2010 while the Patriot Leaguee didn’t start until 2012. Thus, the Rams weren’t eligible to win the league’s automatic berth, but they were given clearance for an at-large berth. With victories over Villanova and Temple, Fordham’s resume is impressive although a late-season loss to Lafayette made its selection somewhat tenuous because Lehigh wasn’t picked for an at-large berth last year despite a 10-1 record.

2013 Record: 11-1
Coach: Joe Moorhead

Big Wins: 9/7 Villanova (27-24), 9/14 at Temple (30-29)
Bad Losses: 11/16 at Lafayette (14-27)

Start with quarterback Michael Nebrich, part of a University of Connecticut connection that has spearheaded the Rams’ success. Nebrich tore his ACL last year and reinjured the same knee this year against Bucknell. He missed the team’s only loss to Lafayette, but returned against Colgate in the regular-season finale. Nebrich is third nationally in total offense and sixth nationally in passing yards per game. When he’s absent, the Rams don’t do nearly as well. Sam Ajala, a Texas native, is Nebrich’s favorite target. He is second nationally in receiving yards and set a school single-game record this year with 282 yards receiving in a 53-32 victory over Yale. Brian Wetzel and Tebucky Jones (another UConn transfer) also are prominent targets. Both have more than 60 receptions each this season. Fordham relies on Carlton Koons for its rushing attack. Koons is in the top 20 nationally for rushing average and has rushed for more than 3,000 yards in his career. Moorhead, who is a former offensive coordinator at UConn, believes the Rams’ balance is a big reason for his team’s success.

As strong as Fordham is on offense, the defense has struggled at times, particularly its run defense. The Rams are 73rd in total defense and 93rd in rushing defense. Only two teams scored fewer than 19 points against the Rams. Of course, some of those points came in mop-up time as Fordham had several games well in hand in the second half. Still, the Rams aren’t nearly as strong on the defensive side. For example, in its loss to Lafayette, Fordham allowed the Leopards an average of 6.6 yards per play and 484 yards for the contest. In addition, the turnover bug has plagued Fordham down the stretch. In its last two games before Colgate, the Rams committed 10 turnovers.

Statistical Leaders:
Rushing: Carlton Koonce, RB, 1,340 yards
Passing: Michael Nebrich, QB, 3,576 yards
Receiving: Sam Ajala, WR, 1,398 yards
Tackles: Stephen Hodge, LB, 111
Sacks: DeAndre Slate, DL, 6.0
Interceptions: Jordan Chapman, DB, 4; Levon Williams, DB, 4

2013 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 168.7 (56th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 349.0 (4, 1)
Total Offense: 517.7 (7, 1)
Scoring Offense: 36.8 (16, 1)
Rushing Defense: 200.5 (93, 5)
Pass Defense: 194.6 (26, 1)
Total Defense: 395.1 (73, 3)
Scoring Defense: 23.7 (33, 2)
Turnover Margin: 0.8 (11, 1)
Sacks: 2.00 (57, 3)
Sacks Allowed: 2.36 (79, 4)

Recent Playoff Appearances:
2007    First Round     Lost to Massachusetts
2002    First Round     Defeated Northeastern
2002    Quarterfinals    Lost to Villanova

*all team stats through 11/16


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