Army Opponent Preview: Fordham

The Black Knights first football game of the Army West Point era will see the team face the Fordham Rams. This clash sees the meeting of two schools who may not factor in on the national football landscape these days, but who are two of the most storied programs from college football’s “golden age”.

2014 Record: 11-3 (6-0 Patriot League) – Lost in FCS Playoffs Second Round 19-44 against New Hampshire.

Series Record: Army West Point leads 4-0 in a series which dates back to a first meeting in 1891. The teams then didn’t play again until 1949, and then again until 2011. This will be the first time in series history Army and Fordham have played each other in consecutive years. Last Meeting: Army led 21-10 in a game where the Black Knights played the underdog against the 10-1 Rams, before all hell broke loose in the fourth quarter. The two teams traded touchdown after touchdown with each scoring 21 points in the final period of play. Army held on to win 42-31 in a highly entertaining game.

Head Coach: Joe Moorhead is entering his fifth season as the Rams head coach with a 29-10 (.744) win/loss record. Moorhead inherited a 1-10 team at the beginning of the 2012 season, turning that squad around and going 6-5 that fall. This is Moorhead’s first head coaching job.

Spring News: The mantra this spring from Moorhead was that the Rams had to get tougher mentally and physically to better their second round playoff exit in 2014. The biggest problem the Rams faced last fall was in their awful pass protection and this spring there was a huge emphasis on protecting the quarterback in the pocket. That Fordham got as far as they did last fall while allowing 42 sacks in 14 games was a minor miracle.

Projected Strengths: The biggest known strength returning to the Fordham offense is running back Chase Edmonds. Edmonds was a monster in 2014, rushing for 1,838 yards and scoring 24 touchdowns on his way to the Jerry Rice award, which is given to most outstanding freshman player in the FCS. With a year under his belt Edmonds could be even more dangerous in 2015.

Fordham will also see the return of one of their star players from 2013 this fall. Linebacker Stephen Hodge was the Patriot League Defensive Player of the Year two years ago, before missing all of last season with a knee injury. Being able to bring the fifth-year senior back into the line-up is a huge boost for this Rams team thanks to his motor and leadership abilities.

Projected Weaknesses: Fordham just lost so much talent that is hard to see how they replace all the pieces that are gone. Of the 19 All-Patriot League honorees the team boasted last year 15 have gone, led by two-time league Offensive Player of the Year, quarterback Mike Nebrich. It is almost unthinkable that the transition to this new pool of talent will go smoothly over the first quarter of the season.

Fordham will have to find some production at wide receiver if they are to achieve their goals this fall. The Rams graduated a total of 3,459 yards in receiving as Brian Wetzel, Tebucky Jones Jr. and Sam Ajala all used up their eligibility in 2014. In total Fordham graduated their top five pass catchers from a year ago and the leading returning receiver, Robbie Cantelli, had two catches for 37 yards last season.

Prediction: It helps Army West Point that they get Fordham so early in the season. With the Rams losing so many starters from their stellar team from the past two years it will take them a little while to get comfortable with all the new parts. Fordham have been picked to win the Patriot League for the third season in a row, and with Moorhead at the helm it is hard to bet against them doing so. This is going to be a tight game which will be decided by less than seven points in the Black Knights favor.

ArmySports.com Top Stories