FOOTBALL | Unbeaten Fordham Heavily Favored
Published: Friday, October 11, 2013
Updated: Friday, October 11, 2013 01:10
After a dubious start and a much-needed week off, the Georgetown football team (1-4) will look to revitalize its season as it begins conference play tomorrow against No. 9 Fordham (6-0).
Although Fordham is a conference opponent, it is ineligible for the Patriot League Championship this year because it violated NCAA regulations by awarding athletic merit aid to players in the Class of 2014. For this reason, the game will not count toward Georgetown’s conference record. Nevertheless, it will decide the Hoyas’ confidence, for better or worse.
Georgetown is searching for its second win of the season. The Blue and Gray have lost three consecutive games since their home opener against Davidson on Sept. 7. Georgetown played its most recent game Sept. 28 and suffered a 50-22 loss against Princeton.
“Last week we went back to square one and the fundamentals,” Head Coach Kevin Kelly said. “We had to reteach some things. We have some young guys that hadn’t been playing, so it was good for them to catch up. It was a good week.”
The Hoyas will look to rebound against the Rams, but it will be no easy task. Fordham is off to its best start since 1988, and has won its first six games, which include matches against Temple, an FBS team, and two top-20 teams in the FCS.
“Fordham is very well coached. They are a very talented football team,” Kelly said. “You can see that the 60 scholarships that they have are starting to kick in. Coach Moorhead does a great job of coaching in all phases. We expect to see an excellent football team.”
Fordham is coming off a 52-34 win against fellow Patriot League opponent No. 10 Lehigh. The Rams exploded for 630 yards of total offense against the Mountain Hawks in last week’s nationally televised game.
Junior quarterback Michael Nebrich earned a handful of awards, including National Co-Offensive Player of the Week, for his part in Fordham’s convincing win over Lehigh. He threw for a career-high 384 yards on 26 of 36 passing attempts and four touchdowns while also rushing for 56 yards and a touchdown.
Fordham’s strong passing game is accompanied by an equally strong rushing game. The Rams’ rushing attack is headed by senior running back Carlton Koonce, who has rushed for more than 100 yards in each of his last four games. Both Koonce and Nebrich, the stars of the Fordham offense, are former FBS players; Nebrich transferred from Connecticut and Koonce transferred from Hofstra.
“You have to prepare for [their offense],” Kelly said. “We have looked at what we are doing defensively and we have a game plan put together. But they put a lot of pressure on us because they can run the football and they have been throwing the football extremely well. They are a well-coached, talented football team.”
It is clear that the Rams’ offense deserves more credit than their defense for their undefeated streak this season. Fordham’s defense has allowed its opponents, on average, more than 23 points per game, including 34 points to Lehigh last week. Fordham has been particularly susceptible to the rush this season. In its six games, opponents have rushed for an average of 188.2 yards per game against the Rams.
Georgetown’s offense will look to exploit these holes in Fordham’s defense. According to Kelly, senior quarterback Isaiah Kempf is expected to return to The Hoyas after suffering an undisclosed injury against Princeton last Saturday.
In order to pull off the upset, Georgetown will have to do a better job protecting the football. In their five games this season, The Hoyas have thrown six interceptions and have lost three fumbles. Meanwhile, the Fordham defense has recovered 10 of 13 forced fumbles and has also forced two interceptions.
According to Kelly, the Blue and Gray have been hindered by injuries for most of the season. But, despite having the week off, they are still not at full strength.
“We are getting better [as far as injuries]. We are not quite there yet. But we should have some guys back that were out the last couple weeks,” Kelly said.
Tomorrow, the battered Hoyas will look to pull off the upset against Fordham. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. at MultiSport Facility.