Fordham toppled by Eastern Washington in home opener, 56-21
Having split the first two games of the 2017 regular season on the road, the Fordham Rams faced a stiff test in their home opener at Jack Coffey Field on Saturday against the No. 12 ranked team in the FCS, the Eastern Washington Eagles. This marked the first meeting between both schools.
A key part of the offense would be missing in Fordham’s lineup in senior running back and 2017 Patriot League Preseason Offensive Player and Consensus Pre-Season All-All-American Chase Edmonds out with a leg injury.
Early on the Rams defense played outstanding as sophomore cornerback Jesse Bramble recovered a fumble but Fordham was unable to take advantage of the miscue. Eastern Washington quickly moved the ball downfield in 9 plays and 75 yards capped off by a 10-yard touchdown run from quarterback Gage Gubrud.
Getting the ball back with two minutes remaining at the 22-yard line, Rams quarterback Kevin Anderson (17 for 28, 191 yards) engineered a 7 play, 78 yard drive. Anderson connected on a 43 yard pass to junior wide receiver Jonathan Lumley (8 catches for 119 yards). Sophomore running back D’Angelo Palladino picked up chunks of yardage on the ground moving the ball down to the five-yard line. Anderson completed the drive firing a strike to junior wide receiver and Patriot Offensive Player of the Week Corey Caddle (5 receptions for 50 yards, 2 TD’s) with 13 seconds remaining.
A booming 62-yard punt by Eagles punter Jordan Dascalo pinned the Rams inside their 10-yard line. A quick three-and-out and short punt gave Eastern Washington excellent starting field position at the Fordham 34-yard line. Gubrud went to work, completing a 25-yard pass to wide receiver Dre’ Sonte Dorton. On the very next play Gubrud drove straight ahead for the score with 11:06 remaining. The Eagles defense applied pressure forcing the Rams to punt on their next series. Starting out at the Eastern Washington for the 43-yard line, Gubrud utilized his arm strength connecting on three consecutive passes. With first and ten at the 17-yard line running back Tamarick Pierce bulldozed straight ahead through the line for the touchdown extending the lead to 28-7 with 7:25 on the clock.
Having completed 20 of 27 passes for 205 yards by halftime, Gubrud did not skip a beat coming out of the locker room for the second half. On the first play of the third quarter, Gubrud aired out a 57-yard bomb to running back Antoine Custer, Jr. pushing the margin to 28-7. The Eagles had complete command of the line of scrimmage forcing another punt. Mixing up the run and pass, Gubrud scampered for 28 yards on a QB keeper setting up a first and goal at the five-yard line. Gubrud finished it off rolling out and finding tight end Henderson Belk for the score.
After Anderson connected for second time with Caddle on a 16-yard touchdown, Gubrud sealed the victory zipping his third passing score of the game to wide receiver Nic Sblendori with 10:29 left in the fourth quarter. Gubrud finished up the day completing 29 of 41 passes for 399 yards ( 3 passing TD’s, 2 rushing TD’s) and rushing 7 times for 72 yards. Eastern Washington outgained Fordham in total yards 650 to 217. Without Edmonds, the Rams struggled running the ball amassing only 26 yards.
Next up for Fordham (1-2) is an away game on September 23 at Bryant with kickoff at 1:00 p.m.