Fordham Football enters 2014 at number 22 in our rankings. Check out our Top 25 Season Preview for more on the top college teams to watch this fall. Can’t find your team in the Top 25? View our full rankings to see where every team stands.
Last Season: 12-2 (NA) Patriot League
Since Fordham football allowed scholarship players during the 2010 season while the rest of the Patriot League did not, they weren’t eligible to win the conference title – and for that, the rest of the conference should be grateful. The 526 points they scored last season were best in the conference, 178 more than second place Lehigh‘s 316. So, not close. In fact, Lehigh was closer to last place Georgetown (227) than they were to first place Fordham.
Since the Rams were ineligible for the automatic bid they would receive for winning their conference, they had to earn an at-large bid to the FCS playoffs, and with an 11-1 regular season record they did just that. They took down Sacred Heart in the first round of the playoffs before losing to eventual runner-up Towson.
Steven Tapia RG – Four-year starter
Carlton Koonce RB – 307 carries, 1,561 yards, 9 TDs
Brett Biestek DL – 58 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 5 sacks
Jake Rodriques LB – 65 tackles, 3.5 TFL, 2 sacks, 2 INTs
Ian Williams DB – 86 tackles, 2 TFL, 2 sacks, 4 INTs, 15 passes broken up, 19 pass defenses, 2 FF
What to Watch
Air Raid – Check out this trio of wide receivers and their stats from last season:
Sam Ajala – 93 receptions, 1,646 yards, 14 TDs
Brian Wetzel – 89 receptions, 1,094 yards, 14 TDs
Tebucky Jones – 85 receptions, 1,154 yards, 5 TDs
Sam Ajala was named a second team FCS All-American as a junior last season. He led the Patriot league in receiving yards and tied teammate Brian Wetzel for most receiving touchdowns in the conference with 14. Ajala, Wetzel, and outstanding third-option Tebucky Jones will be back next season to help Michael Nebrich try to match his FCS-best 73.5% completion rate from last season.
Senior quarterback Michael Nebrich is legit. His 73.5% completion rate is legit. His receiving corps is legit. His mohawk? Questionable. Haircut aside, he’s going to do some huge things this year. On the other side of the ball, the defense only lost three starters to graduation.
They may not have been eligible to win it last season, but this surging Fordham team looks primed to dominate the Patriot League again and take the league crown. It remains to be seen however, if their weak conference schedule has anything to do with the early playoff exits they’ve suffered of late. You’ve got to play the best to be the best, and the Rams haven’t had much opportunity to do that lately. Fans should expect playoffs and hope for more, but nervousness as December approaches would make sense as well.