November 9, 2013 — Fordham University head football coach Joe Moorhead preaches to his team to play every play as if it’s your last. Luckily for the Rams, senior Ian Williams and junior Jordan Chapman did just that today, rising above the defensive line to block a Bucknell field goal attempt on the final play of the game as #6/7 Fordham held on to beat the Bison on Senior Day, 23-21, to remain undefeated on Jack Coffey Field.
With the win, the Rams go to 10-0 on the year for the first time ever while Bucknell, who had a three-game winning streak snapped, falls to 4-5. The 10 Fordham wins are more than the Rams won the past two years combined (seven) and marks just the third time since 1920 that the Rams have won 10 games in a season (the other two years are 1987 and 2002). The win is Fordham’s sixth at home this year, tying the 1987 squad for most wins on Jack Coffey Field.
Another credo that Moorhead expounds to the squad is that when someone gets injured, it’s vital that the replacement step in and do as good a job, if not better, than the player he is replacing. In the case of junior quarterback Mike Nebrich, who left the game in the first quarter with an injury, that appears to be an impossible request as Nebrich is candidate for the Walter Payton Award which goes to the top NCAA FCS player in the country. But junior quarterback Peter Maetzold did his level best, completing 21 of 35 passes for 318 yards and one touchdown off the bench in his first significant playing time since early in his freshman year.
In a game that featured more twists and turns than any roller coaster at Six Flags, Kings Dominion or Busch Garden, the Rams kept all 6,826 fans glued to their seats until the final play.
Senior running back Carlton Koonce gained 84 yards in the game, but none as important as the eight he picked up on a third-and-one call from the Bucknell 41 with about a minute left, seemingly sealing the victory for the Rams. But on the second attempt to kneel on the ball, the Bucknell defensive line pushed the Fordham offensive line into Maetzold, forcing a fumble which was recovered by the Bison’s Brent Forbes on the 33.
Bucknell quarterback Brandon Wesley then drove the Bison down to the Fordham 19 where he lost a yard on a rush with under 10 seconds left. Out of time-outs, Wesley attempted to spike the ball, appearing to have lost control of the ball for a fumble, but the officials ruled it a spike and Bucknell had the ball on the Fordham 20 with two seconds left.
Derek Maurer came on for Bucknell to attempt a 37-yard field goal but this time it was the Fordham defensive line that got the penetration allowing Williams and Chapman to elevate together and block the ball, and the Rams fell on the loose ball for the win.
The Rams return to action next Saturday, November 16, as they travel to Easton, Pennsylvania, to face the Lafayette College Leopards in Fisher Stadium at 3:30 p.m. To read more highlights of the game, visit Fordham’s athletics page.
The Rams snapped a two-game losing streak to the Bison with the win but Bucknell still leads the all-time series, 18-11… The Rams honored the 17 seniors with a special pregame ceremony… Koonce’s 84 rushing yards brings his 2013 total to 1,109 as he records his second straight 1,000-yard rushing season… He is just the second Ram to gain more than 1,000 rushing yards in a year, joining Kirwin Watson, who had three… The 84 yards brings his career total to 2,930, good for fourth on the school’s career rushing list, 60 behind Xavier Martin (2007-10) for third… Ajala’s 123 receiving yards brings his season totals to 1,263 yards, the second best single season in school history (the school mark is 1,439 set by Javarus Dudley in 2003)… Marando has 45 PATs so far in 2013, the second most in a season in school history (school record is 47 by Micah Clukey in 2003) and 16 field goals, the third most in a season for a Ram (school record is 25 set by Patrick Murray last year)… Marando had his second three-field goal game of the year… Moorhead is now 16-5 as a head coach.