On a chilly night in the Bronx, the Yale football team came out of the gates red hot as the Bulldogs jumped out to an early 21–0 lead they would never relinquish and earned a 44–10 victory over Fordham in their most complete performance of the season. In the wire-to-wire rout over the Rams, quarterback Kurt Rawlings ’20 completed 18 of his 20 passes to finish with 189 yards and a touchdown while running backs Deshawn Salter ’18 and Zane Dudek ’21 combined for five touchdowns on the night.
“The mentality of the whole team is to come in and take over,” quarterback Kurt Rawlings ’20 said. “This week our focus was doing it from the start. We were a little slow against Cornell and knew we had a lot of stuff to work on. We’re still gonna go home after this game, and there’s gonna be a lot of stuff to work on, but I think we did a better job coming out from the first play and taking to them right away.”
The Bulldogs could not have drawn up a better start to the game. After the Eli defense strung together three quality stops to force a three-and-out on Fordham’s first drive, the offense took just five plays to catapult itself 60 yards down the field for a touchdown. Salter picked up right where he left off from his three-touchdown performance a week ago as he rushed 38 yards for the first score of the game.
Although All-American running back Chase Edmonds suited up for the Saturday night game, he was largely neutralized by constant penetration from Team 145’s defensive line. Edmonds, who seemed to be playing at less than 100 percent, was able to rack up 83 yards on 16 carries, but his production fell well short of his 164 yards per game average from 2016.
Following Salter’s score, his backfield counterpart Dudek kept the offense rolling by punching in an eight-yard score. The Eli defense continued to provide its offense with great field position as it pinned the Rams deep in their territory time and time again. The defensive unit allowed just 51 yards in the first 15 minutes of the game while Yale’s offense exploded for 185 yards.
Rawlings put the finishing touches on a near perfect first quarter with a throw to tight end Jaeden Graham ’18 on a wheel route that brought the score to 21–0. Rawlings went a perfect 10–10 in the quarter for one touchdown and 99 yards.
On its first drive of the second quarter, the Fordham offense finally got on the scoreboard. After a pass interference call on Yale gifted the Rams possession at midfield, quarterback Nick Anderson led his team into the red zone. However, the home squad ultimately settled for a 31-yard field goal to trim Yale’s lead to 21–3. On the ensuing drive, Rawlings continued to find his receivers with quick passes to the outside before Deshawn Salter capped off a 7-play, 80-yard drive with a 27-yard touchdown run.
The Rams sustained their offensive success as All-American running back Chase Edmonds brought his team into Yale territory with a 29-yard rush and 13-yard reception. But the Elis again came up with critical stop deep in their own end, forcing the Rams to attempt a 44-yard field goal that the home team missed. On its next offensive series, Rawlings threw his first incomplete pass of the opening half, an interception by Fordham’s Caleb Ham, but the Bulldogs went into the locker room enjoying a 28–3 advantage.
The second half was all Yale yet again as Salter and Dudek each scored another touchdown, bringing their totals to three and two, respectively, on the evening. The Eli lead reached 38 points following these scores to give Team 145 its biggest advantage of the season. In the fourth quarter, Fordham finally found the end zone on a Zach Davis 20-yard score, but it was far too little, too late for the Rams as Yale ultimately prevailed with a 41–10 win.
With the victory, the Bulldogs reach the 3–0 mark for the second time in three years.