The Fordham Rams, of the Patriot League, come into Nippert Saturday boasting a 4-2 record, including last weeks 38-31 win over Georgetown University. When breaking down their offense, the first thing that stands out is their fantastic running back, Carlton Koonce. Coming into this game, Koonce has 812 rushing yards on 151 carries and five touchdowns, good for 5.4 yards per rush and 135 rushing yards per game. From these stats alone, one can tell Fordham likes to run the ball, and they like to run it often. Out of every player on the Rams offense, Koonce is the one guy Cincinnati's defenders should harp on from the get go. However, Fordham also has a talented player running the show in quarterback Ryan Higgins as well. Higgins is completing nearly 70% of his passes for 1,468 yards and eight touchdowns. Not eye popping statistics, but completing almost 70% of your throws is nothing to scoff at. Ideally, Fordham would like to allow their rushing attack to open up the passing game, but Higgins has the kind of skill to take over if need be. We'll see how their offense plans to attack on Saturday.
Fordham's defense has been very hit or miss this season. Their averages speak to that, allowing 22.2 points and 391.5 total yards per game. Decent stats, but proof that their defensive showing has been inconsistent at best. They have gotten great play from their linebackers, most notably from Michael Martin, who is the coming off of a Patriot League defensive player of the week performance last week against Georgetown. UC has a large size and athletic advantage over the Rams, so expect Fordham to blitz in order to make up for that disadvantage.
UC's game plan
After last week's performance, their best since their opening night win versus Pittsburgh, against Miami, we know what type of game Cincinnati needs to play. They have two weapons in their backfield, in George Winn and Ralph Abernathy IV, that are nearly impossible to shut down. Winn is coming off of a 128 yard and two touchdown performance against the Redhawks, and Abernathy is a big play waiting to happen. Munchie Legaux needs to continue to play with the consistency he has the past two games, not forcing passes and running their read option offense. If so, the UC offense will not be stopped this game. From a defensive standpoint, Cincinnati needs to focus on Fordham running back Carlton Koonce, he's their main offensive weapon and one of the best backs in the Patriot League. Basically, it's a simple game plan, stop the run, and make sure they can't stop yours. Do that, and it should be a convincing win by the Bearcats.