Nov. 10, 2012
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BRONX, N.Y. - Fordham outscored Lafayette 19-7 in the second half and pulled away for a 36-27 win on Saturday at Jack Coffey Field.
The Leopards got off to a quick start for a change, putting up 10 points in the first quarter, their first points in the opening stanza in seven games.
On the first possession of the game, the Lafayette defense stopped Fordham on downs. The offense took over in its own territory and the first play dialed up by offensive coordinator Mickey Fein was a 49-yard flea flicker from Zach Zweizig to Mike Duncan. That set up a 21-yard touchdown pass from Zweizig to Mark Ross in the corner of the endzone.
Ross ended the day with 10 catches for 122 yards and one touchdown. Ross advanced to second in third in single-season receiving yards (913) and second in single-season receptions (66). His is now also ninth in career receptions (115) and 10th in career receiving yards (1,615) at Lafayette.
The Leopards (5-5) parlayed Shane Black’s fourth interception of the season into three points. Ryan Gralish connected for a 26-yard field goal and Lafayette led 10-0 with 7:49 left in the first quarter.
Fordham (6-4) responded when Carlton Koonce’s second effort broke him free and away for a 63-yard gain. Koonce later punched it in from one-yard out to cut Lafayette’s lead to 10-7.
At the end of the first quarter, the offense faked the option and Zweizig again found Duncan wide open in the Fordham secondary, his second 49-yard grab of the game down to the Fordham 18. Zwezig and Ross picked up a first down that led to Ross Scheuerman’s five-yard run and the Leopards’ 17-7 lead at 13:54. Duncan finished the day with five catches for a career-best 124 yards.
A minute later a holding penalty backed up Fordham’s offense to its own 11, but Ryan Higgins passed it over the Lafayette secondary’s head to Brian Wetzel for an 89-yard touchdown that trimmed Lafayette’s lead to 17-14 at 12:43.
The Leopards extended their lead midway through the second on Gralish’s 37-yard field goal. Lafayette had the ball 4th-and-1 at the Fordham 15, but a penalty forced the Leopards to settle for the field goal.
Fordham answered with its own 31-yard field goal by Patrick Murray that put the score at 20-17 at the half.
The Rams took the momentum in the second half, picking off Zweizig and setting up the Fordham offense at the Lafayette 25. Fordham scored on a five-yard pass form Higgins to Brian Wetzel for the 24-20 lead.
Another Zweizig pick set up the Rams’ next score. The Leopards had the ball 4th-and-5 at the Fordham 41 and went for it. Jordan Chapman picked off Zweizig’s pass and returned it 64 yards for a touchdown and a 31-20 Fordham lead with 39 seconds left in the third.
Zweizig was knocked from the game in fourth quarter on a head-to-head late hit by Fordham’s John LaSure. Zweizig later returned to the game after Andrew Shoop played two plays.
Fordham added a field goal after an interception late in the fourth. Trailing 34-20, the Leopards closed the game to one score, putting together a 10-play, 75-yard drive that ended with an eight-yard pass from Shoop to Jamel Smith.
The Leopards attempted an onsides kick recovered by Fordham. The Leopards did get the ball back one last time with 14 seconds left, but were whistled for a holding penalty in the endzone that resulted in a penalty and a 36-27 final.
Zweizig finished the day 22-of-35 for 285 yards, a touchdown and three interceptions. Higgins was 10-for-18 for two touchdowns and an interception and was buoyed by 189 yards on the ground from Koonce.
The Leopards will turn their attention to Lehigh in the 148th meeting of College Football’s Most-Played Rivalry. Kick-off at Fisher Stadium is set for 1 p.m.