Leopards Kick Off Three-Game Road Swing
Oct. 4, 2016
| Lafayette at Fordham
|Gameday Info||GoLeopards.com Gameday|
|Date||Saturday, Oct. 8, 2016 at 1 p.m.|
|Location||Bronx, N.Y. | Jack Coffey Field|
|Tickets||Lafayette Athletics Ticket Office|
|Game Notes||Lafayette | Fordham|
|Live Streaming|| GoLeopards.com through Campus Insiders
Ray Crawford, Tom Kelleher
|Live Stats||Fordham Live Stats|
|Social Media||Twitter & Facebook|
The Match-up: Lafayette continues Patriot League play when it travels to the Bronx on Saturday to face Fordham at 1 p.m. The game is the conference opener for the Rams who finished in second place in the Patriot League standings in 2015.
Ouch: In the span of one half against Holy Cross, Lafayette lost two of its marquee players when senior QB Drew Reed was knocked from the game with a concussion and junior LB Brandon Bryant left with a knee injury. Reed's status is questionable for Saturday at Fordham while Bryant is listed as doubtful.
In related news, senior DL Matt Rothrock will not be available for 2016 after suffering a preseason knee injury. He plans to apply for a medical redshirt to return for the 2017 season. Freshman Tre Jordan played in four games, starting the last two at free safety before sustaining a shoulder injury that requires surgery.
Searfoss Steps In: With the injury to Drew Reed, senior QB Blake Searfoss made the most of his opportunity against Holy Cross. Searfoss completed 33-of-45 passes for 280 yards and four touchdowns, setting career highs for completions, passing yards and touchdowns.
Mrazek's Moments: Junior WR Matt Mrazek continues to have a stellar season. Mrazek made 11 catches for 109 yards and three touchdowns (all career highs) vs. Holy Cross. It was the first time since 2014 that a Lafayette player had 11 or more catches (Ross Scheuerman, 11/8/2014 at Colgate). It was the second three-touchdown performance of the season for Mrazek who achieved the feat in the season opener at Central Connecticut State. His eight touchdown catches on the season rank him first in the nation.
With 103 career catches, Mrazek needs four more to move into Lafayette's top 10 for career receptions.
The Series: Lafayette leads the all-time series 22-11-1, with Fordham capturing the last two meetings. The teams first met in 1903.
On The Corner: Freshman Eric Mitchell has played in every game this season and has started the last three games at cornerback. He is coming off a career-high seven-tackle performance against Holy Cross, after making six vs. Villanova and four vs. Princeton.
Last Time Out: Holy Cross scored 22 straight points in the fourth quarter to recover from a five-point deficit and hand Lafayette a 38-28 setback on Homecoming Weekend at Fisher Stadium. It was the Patriot League opener for both teams.
Young Starters: Lafayette has seen 10 freshmen or sophomores start a game in 2016.
More Pressure: The Lafayette defense has been able to apply more pressure up front this season in comparison to last. Lafayette has sacked opponents nine times through five games, but did not reach the nine-sack mark until the final game of 2015.
Limiting Penalties: Lafayette ranks first in the nation for fewest penalties per game (3.4), second for fewest penalty yards per game (32.40), fourth for fewest penalties (12) and 10th for fewest penalty yards (135).
It's a trend that started in 2015, as Lafayette ranked 11th in the nation in penalty yards (455) and total penalties (54), 12th in penalty yards per game (41.4) and 14th in the NCAA in penalties per game (4.91).
Fordham (2-2) begins a three-game homestand when it hosts the Leopards on Saturday. The Rams dropped their season opener to FBS opponent Navy (52-16), but won the next two games, beating Elizabeth City State (83-21) and Penn (31-17). Fordham is coming off an overtime loss at Monmouth (42-41).
Fordham was 9-3 overall and 5-1 in Patriot League play last season, finishing in second place in the conference standings while earning an FCS Playoff at-large berth.
The Rams return 10 starters on offense and eight on defense while welcoming back 58 letterwinners. The team was picked second behind Colgate in the Patriot League preseason poll.
Senior Kevin Anderson is in his second season as the Rams' signal caller. He was the team's offensive MVP last season and has completed 78-of-139 for 972 yards with eight touchdowns and two interceptions this season.
The Fordham running game is what most concerns defensive coordinators, as the Rams average 269 yards per game on the ground. The bulk of that real estate is gobbled up by junior TB Chase Edmonds, an All-American who is averaging 146 yards per game to lead the nation. Edmonds, who was the 2015 Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year, averages 6.6 yards per carry and has eight touchdowns.
Sophomore Austin Longi and senior Robbie Cantelli lead the team in receptions. Longi has 20 catches for 301 yards and three scores while Cantelli also has three scores with 13 catches for 156 yards.
Defensively, senior LB George Dawson leads the team with 27 tackles and three interceptions. He has started in 30 games during his career, playing in 44. Junior Caleb Ham has 26 stops from his free safety spot, one of seven players with 15 or more tackles.
Fordham is coached by Andrew Breiner (Lock Haven '06) who is in his first season at the helm of the Rams' program. Breiner, who was the offensive coordinator at Fordham for four years, replaced Joe Moorhead who left to become the offensive coordinator at Penn State.