Don’t say New York’s football teams aren’t any good. Fordham has been beyond good for the second year in a row. The Rams (10-2) return to the FCS playoffs on at noon Saturday against Sacred Heart, who make the short trek from Connecticut to Coffey Field in the Bronx.
For those unfamiliar with Fordham this season, here’s what to know as the school begins its journey toward the FCS Championship.
Keeping up with Chase
Few schools have had luck containing running back Chase Edmonds. The true freshman has carried 252 times for 1539 yards (6.1 yards per carry) and 21 touchdowns, good enough to earn him a spot among the 25 Walter Payton Award (the FCS equivalent to the Heisman Trophy) finalists. Sacred Heart has been stingy against the run (86.1 yards allowed per game), so Edmonds will need to be at the top of his game against the Pioneers.
Quarterback Mike Nebrich was the driving force behind last year’s run to the FCS postseason, and he had another strong season for this year’s Patriot League champions as the conference’s Offensive Player of the Year. Nebrich completed 66.8% of his passes for 3,015 yards and 25 touchdowns with just six interceptions. It helped having all-conference receivers Sam Ajala and Tebucky Jones Jr. and tight end Dan Light as options in the passing game.
No slouches on defense
The Rams also placed five defensive players on the all-conference team: defensive linemen Brett Biestek and DeAndre Slate; linebacker Austin Hancock; and defensive backs Jordan Chapman and Ian Williams. The Pioneers aren’t known for an explosive offense (27.5 points per game), and Fordham’s defense should be good enough to allow it’s efficient offense (42.2 ppg) to outgun Sacred Heart and advance to meet top seed New Hampshire in the next round.