Originally published in The Fordham Ram on November 16, 2016.
In front of over 21,000 people at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night, Fordham Football played one of its best games of the season, trouncing Holy Cross 54-14 in the Ram-Crusader Cup.
Playing on the biggest stage most, if not all, of them will ever play on, the Rams came out of the gate with just the right kind of manic energy. After receiving the first kickoff in a Fordham game at Yankee Stadium in 70 years, they did not waste any time finding the end zone. Junior running back Chase Edmonds, who had been bottled up against Colgate for just 73 rushing yards and held out of the end zone for four straight weeks, broke out of those slumps in a huge way. He hit a hole on the left side of the line and turned on the jets, bouncing off a would-be tackler on his way to a 41-yard touchdown rush and a quick 7-0 Fordham lead.
After the defense forced a three-and-out, the Rams once again looked towards the end zone. This time, it was senior quarterback Kevin Anderson doing the bulk of the work. He completed three long passes to start the drive, something that he has had issues with so far this season. Those passes — to Edmonds, senior receiver Robbie Cantelli and sophomore receiver Corey Caddle — moved the Rams 55 yards downfield. It was Edmonds who finished up the drive, leaping over the offensive line for his second touchdown in as many drives, giving the Rams a 14-0 lead.
Holy Cross looked poised to finally get on the board on its next drive, getting deep inside Fordham territory. Hoping for a spark on the big stage, Crusader head coach Tom Gilmore decided to go for it on fourth-and-3 on the Fordham 24, but sophomore linebacker Noah Fitzgerald deflected the pass attempt away for a turnover on downs.
After securing catches of eight and 27 yards to open the ensuing drive, Caddle caught what looked like a screen pass on the Holy Cross 27. However, it was a double-pass play, and Caddle lofted the ball towards senior receiver Jorge Solano in the end zone. The ball was a little underthrown, but Solano was able to duck his defender and grab the ball right before it hit the ground to give Fordham 21 unanswered points before the end of the first quarter.
After punts from both sides, it was once again Edmonds finding the end zone for the Rams. He took the ball in on the left side for a 4-yard touchdown and a 27-0 lead after the missed extra point from senior kicker Makay Redd. It was a historic touchdown in a historic venue, as it gave Edmonds sole possession of the career rushing touchdown record in Patriot League history with 58.
“It speaks volumes to the people around me,” said Edmonds of the record. “It’s great to have a great line. It’s great to have the best quarterback, in my eyes, in this country.”
The Crusaders finally got on the board on their following drive. Darrius Lacy caught a 55-yard pass to set up an 8-yard rushing touchdown for Diquan Walker.
The Rams again answered right back. Anderson got to work through the air, first finding sophomore tight end Isaiah Searight for 23 yards and then 21- and 14-yard completions to Caddle. After Caddle was crushed over the middle of the end zone – he went to the locker room and did not return to the game – Anderson found Searight for a 17-yard score. A failed trick play on the two-point conversion attempt put the score at 33-7.
The Rams defense once again forced another turnover on downs in their own territory to give the offense one more chance to score before the half. Sophomore receiver Austin Longi caught a pass over the middle and then turned on the jets, running past most of the Crusader defense to the Holy Cross 2-yard line for a 60-yard catch-and-run. Anderson found Cantelli in the back of the end zone for the 2-yard touchdown on the next play, giving the Rams the 40-7 lead they took into the locker room.
“The theme this morning was ‘He who holds the pen controls history’ and today was a historic day for our football program,” said Breiner. “So I told them at halftime that the chapter was only half-written, that we had to finish it.”
Finish it they did. Despite allowing the Crusaders to score immediately on the opening drive of the second half thanks to another big completion down the field, the Rams answered right back, this time with a 7-yard touchdown reception for Longi. They iced the game away in fourth quarter when Edmonds took the ball on a fourth-and-1 on the Holy Cross 18 in for his fourth touchdown of the day, bringing his big day and a big day for the program to an end with a 54-14 victory.
Edmonds finished with those four touchdowns and 119 yards on 23 carries. Anderson had his best game of the season, completing 28 of his 33 pass attempts for 426 yards and three touchdowns.
“I had 40 of my closest family and friends come up for the game, a lot of people in my life that are really close to me that have never seen me play in person, so it was huge for me,” said Anderson.
For the second time this season, the defense held a team to negative rushing yards on the ground, holding the Crusaders to -5 yards.
The Rams will hope to carry their momentum of this big win on the biggest stage to their final regular season game of the year, on the road at Bucknell on Nov. 19 at noon. A win would improve them to 8-3, which may be enough for them to sneak into the FCS Playoffs with an at-large berth.