The Yale football team hung with the high-powered Fordham offense in the Bronx on Saturday, but came up just short in the end.
Yale out-rushed the best rushing team in the Football Championship Subdivision by a 324–157 margin, adding a four-touchdown performance from Dale Harris ’17. Ultimately, however, the Fordham offense and the Elis’ costly turnovers proved insurmountable for the Bulldogs as they fell 44–37 to the Rams.
“Fordham did a nice job and held on at the end,” head coach Tony Reno said. “They made a few more plays in the game then we did and at the end of the day that was the big thing. They cashed in one more time than we did. We had our opportunities and didn’t finish.”
Both offenses came out of the gates clicking. After returning the opening kickoff to the Yale 33-yard line, the Rams needed just four plays to score on a 15-yard touchdown reception by wide receiver Robbie Cantelli.
Yale responded quickly, marching 55 yards down the field in 3:20 and capping off the drive with a one-yard run by quarterback Tre Moore ’19. Holder Andrew Johnson ’18 caught the Rams off guard and scrambled for the two-point conversion to give the Elis an 8–7 lead.
The defenses settled in after the opening possessions, as Fordham surprisingly kept its biggest weapon off the field. Running back Chase Edmonds did not attempt a carry for most of the first quarter, but picked up 16 yards on his first rush. The Rams would score on the next play, a 55-yard completion to wide receiver Corey Caddle with 1:12 remaining in the opening period. The Rams’ quarterback finished the half with 160 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Even with running backs Deshawn Salter ’18 and Alan Lamar ’20 not playing, Yale finished the first half with 121 rushing yards. A 56-yard burst by Candler Rich ’17 in the second quarter set up a four-yard touchdown run by Dale Harris ’17 to give the Bulldogs a 15–14 advantage.
But Fordham closed out the first half on a 13–0 run as Anderson found wide receivers Caddle and Austin Longi for 15- and 19-yard touchdown receptions, the latter of which was set up by a 27-yard Edmonds run. Yale entered the locker room at halftime down 12 points, but with no turnovers.
The halftime deficit could have been worse for the Bulldogs, as the Rams narrowly missed on several deep passes to their tight end. Yale also had some missed opportunities, including a would-be interception with room to run early in the first quarter.
The Eli ground attack came out of the gate strong behind Harris and Moore once again, but lost its momentum when Harris fumbled in the red zone. Fordham could not do anything with the extra possession, as the teams continued to trade punts throughout the third quarter.
Turnovers came back to bite Yale once again in the third quarter, this time much more severely, when Fordham safety Caleb Ham stepped in front of a Moore pass and returned the interception 63 yards to extend the Ram lead to 34–15.
The Yale offense recovered on its next possession by leaning on its run game, picking up 55 of 64 yards on the ground and capping off the drive with a one-yard run by Harris, who also punched in the two-point conversion.
The teams then traded scores. Cantelli beat Yale safety Hayden Carlson ’18 for a 69-yard touchdown reception, but the Eli offense responded quickly. Yale marched down the field and set up yet another Harris one-yard touchdown to bring the game within 11 points.
The Bulldogs forced a three-and-out, regaining possession with just over ten minutes to play. The Eli offense picked up two first downs before the Rams stuffed Harris on a fourth-and-one attempt. Edmonds then ran the ball 23 yards down the field to the Yale six-yard line, setting up a Fordham field goal.
Moore then ran a tight two-minute drill, bringing Yale down to the red zone for another Harris touchdown, his fourth of the game. However, a failed onside kick with mere seconds remaining sealed the 44–37 win for the Rams.
Yale will resume Ivy League play next Friday night as it hosts Penn at the Yale Bowl.