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Balanced Attack Sends Leopards to Second Straight Win

Andrew Shoop stretches the ball over the goal line for an 8-yard TD.

Oct. 22, 2011

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EASTON, Pa. - Lafayette utilized a balanced offensive attack, and the defense stuffed Fordham on five fourth down tries in the Leopards' 45-24 triumph over Fordham on Saturday afternoon. The Leopards posted their second straight win on homecoming weekend and managed consecutive wins for the first time since November 2009 when Lafayette concluded a seven-game winning streak.

Junior quarterback Andrew Shoop threw for 259 yards and a touchdown and rushed for another score. Meanwhile, three running backs cranked out 260 yards led by Pat Mputu's 116 yards and a TD and 65 yards by Vaughn Hebron to go along with his two scores. Defensively, Leroy Butlerwas a man possessed, making a career-high 20 tackles in the 89 plays that Fordham ran.

Seven minutes into the first quarter the action got going. The Leopards came with an all-out blitz and Fordham QB Ryan Higgins (32-52-1 for 413 yards) hit Greg Wilson for a 45-yard touchdown pass and a 7-0 lead.

On the Leopards' second drive of the game, Mputu put Lafayette deep inside Fordham territory after a 33-yard scamper. The big gain was where it ended, however, as Shoop was picked off at the Fordham 18.

The Lafayette defense generated its own turnover on Fordham's resulting possession. Evan McGovern upended Griffin Murphy and forced a fumble that Kyvory Henderson recovered. Lafayette used three plays to tie the game with a 12-yard pass from Shoop to Nathan Padiafor his second career TD catch.

The turnover exchange continued when Fordham separated punt returner Darius Saffordfrom the ball and took over on the Lafayette 22-yard line. The Rams needed just two plays to punch it in with Darryl Whiting's three-yard jaunt giving Fordham a 14-7 lead with 1:18 left in the first quarter. Whiting ended the afternoon with 20 carries for 128 yards.

The Lafayette running game started moving the ball at the end of the first quarter and into the second. Ross Scheuerman, who finished with 51 yards, ripped off a 29-yard carry. He followed with runs of six and 16 yards before Shoop ran it out from eight yards out to knot the game at 14 with 14:23 left in the half. A 62-yard run by Whiting put the at the Lafayette 11 after a touchdown-saving tackle by Tyler McFarlane. The Leopards stopped four running plays, the final a rush for no gain by Higgins to take over on downs.

The back and forth game continued when Lafayette took over at its own two-yard line. Hebron moved the Leopards out of danger with an 18-yard run on his first carry of the day. Following a 49-yard toss from Shoop to Mark Ross(6 catches for 99 yards), Hebron's second effort on a five-yard run gave Lafayette a 20-14 lead with 9:57 left. The PAT missed wide right. It was the Leopards' longest scoring drive of the season.

Fordham added a 32-yard field goal by Michal Marando with less than three minutes left in the half. The Leopards still had plenty of time. Shoop threw a 49-yard pass to Kyle Hayes (3 catches for 98 yards) that set up a score. With the ball 2nd-and-goal at the one, Lafayette brought in two tight ends and a pair of fullbacks. O'Neil handed off to fullback Greg Kessel, the first back through, and he leaped the defense line for the score. Lafayette led 27-17.

Neither team got on the board until six minutes into the second half. O'Brien added a 31-yard field goal and the Leopards were seemingly in control with a 30-17 lead. Fordham made things interesting with three minutes left in the game. The Rams put together a 13-play, 96-yard drive that took just three minutes and ended with Higgins connecting with Blake Wayne for a six-yard touchdown pass. That score cut Lafayette's lead to 30-24.

The Rams attempted an onsides kick, but Lafayette recovered. The next play Mputu gave Lafayette some breathing room, tearing away for a 39-yard scoring run, the longest of his career. On the ensuing kickoff, Kasheem Hill knocked the ball loose and Ben Aloiscooped it up and ran it 13 yards to the Fordham 10. Three plays later Hebron scored from seven yards out to run the final to 45-24.

Lafayette looks for its third straight win on Oct. 29 when the Leopards host Bucknell at 6 p.m.

NOTES:Jeff Werrell '02 was the honorary coin tosser, along with his nine-month old son, Alex. Werrell, a four-year member of Lafayette's football program, is a captain and helicopter pilot in the Marine Corps. He is stationed out of Marine Air Station Miramar in San Diego, Calif., and is scheduled to be deployed to the South Pacific on the USS Essex on Nov. 4.

The last time Lafayette had three players rush for 50 or more yards was Sept. 12, 2009 at Georgetown: Maurice White (76), DeAndre' Morrow (61), Jerome Rudolph (58). That resulted in a 28-3 win for Lafayette in the season opener.

The last time Lafayette put up 500+ total yards was in a 36-27 loss vs. Holy Cross on Nov. 13, 2010. The 260 rushing yards were the most since Oct. 25, 2008 when Lafayette had 322 on a rainy day at Fordham. In that game, Jerome Rudolph had 140 yards, Matt Ferber had 51 and Greg Stripehad 43 yards to name three of the eight players who carried the ball.

Mputu's 100-plus rushing game was the first since Alan Elder had 104 on Oct. 30, 2010 vs. Bucknell.