July 22, 2014
CENTER VALLEY, Pa. - Coming off a top-10 season and with nearly all of its key players returning, Fordham has earned a place among the top teams in FCS in national magazines previewing the 2014 college football campaign.
The Rams were ranked No. 8 by both Sporting News and Lindy's, and came in at No. 13 in Athlon. The two official national polls, The Sports Network top 25 and FCS Coaches Poll, will be released in August.
Fordham finished with a 12-2 record in 2013. The Rams raced out to a 10-0 start and top-five national ranking before finishing the regular season at 11-1, and went to defeat Sacred Heart in the first round of the playoffs before losing at eventual national runner-up Towson in the second round. Fordham finished at No. 9 in The Sports Network rankings and No. 10 in the FCS Coaches Poll following the postseason.
The Rams bring back 15 players who earned All-Patriot League status last year, and a handful are receiving national attention heading into the 2014 season. Quarterback Mike Nebrich and wide receiver Sam Ajala have been selected as preseason Walter Payton Award (FCS Most Outstanding Player) candidates and linebacker Stephen Hodge has been named a Buck Buchanan Award (FCS Top Defensive Player) candidate. The trio of seniors has also been named preseason All-Americans by The Sports Network, with tight end Dan Light and offensive lineman Mason Halter joining their classmates on the list.
Patriot League teams will face off against five opponents listed in the top 25 of at least one of the preseason magazines. Fordham will play at Villanova, rated as high as No. 5, in a clash of top FCS teams on Sept. 6. Lehigh faces a New Hampshire team that is in the top seven on all three top 25 lists on Sept. 13, while additional non-League games against teams on the top 25 lists include Colgate at Delaware (Sept. 13), Lafayette at William & Mary (Sept. 20) and Princeton at Colgate (Oct. 11).
The football season begins on Aug. 30 with five Patriot League teams in action, including Fordham playing at home against St. Francis (Pa.).