Fordham rallied for 10 fourth quarter points and scored the final 17 points of the game to come away with a 38-31 victory over Central Connecticut in the Blue Devils' home opener on Saturday. A crowd of 4,414 packed Arute Field for the opener for CCSU, but the Blue Devils fell to 0-2 to start the season after the loss. Fordham is now 1-1.
The Blue Devils will now travel to Youngstown State next Saturday, Sept. 16, to face the Penguins at 2 p.m.
The Blue Devils made some noise early as sophomore defensive back Tajik Bagley returned the opening kickoff 95-yards for a touchdown for the quick 7-0 lead. The kick return was the first for a score for the Blue Devils since November of 2015. Bagley took a quick handoff from senior teammate Najae Brown and ran across the field for the score. Brown was the last Blue Devil to run a kick back for a touchdown.
The Blue Devil defense forced a fumble on the first Fordham drive of the game and then turned it into a 32-yard field goal from junior Frankie Palmer with 13:14 to play in the first quarter. The defense came up big again a minute later when junior Tymir Hinton recovered a Fordham fumble and returned it 31-yards for the touchdown and the 17-0 lead with 12:14 to play, still in the first.
The Rams would put up 21 unanswered points and take a 21-17 lead with 8:36 to play in the second quarter. Quarterback Kevin Anderson ran it in from seven yards for the first score, followed by a pair of touchdown scores from Anderson to Corey Caddle and Andrew Prince as Fordham took its first lead of the game.
The Blue Devils answered, and put together their most impressive drive of the first half, as they went 67 yards in nine plays, to retake the lead, 24-21, with 2:18 on the clock. Junior Jacob Dolegala hit classmate Jose Garcia from 20-yards out for the touchdown and the lead.
Fordham missed a field goal to open the second half and the Blue Devils went eight plays and 78 yards for a two yard touchdown run from senior Cameron Nash to push the lead to 31-21 with 6:29 left in the third quarter.
Fordham cut the lead to 31-28 at the end of the third quarter when Anderson hit Prince for a 30 yard strike to complete a 75-yard drive.
The Rams would hold the Blue Devils scoreless over the final 21:28 and outscore the Blue Devils 17-0 during that stretch to come away with the victory. Kyle Facibene kicked a 40-yard field goal to tie the game at 31-31 with 4:43 left in the game.
The Blue Devils got the ball back after a blocked field goal attempt, but this time it was the Fordham defense that made a play. Lawrence Menyah picked off a Dolegala pass and took it 29-yards for the deciding score. The Blue Devils drove the length of the field in the final minute but a Dolegala pass to the end zone was intercepted to end the threat.
Dolegala finished the game 18-of-41 for 224 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. Nash rushed 15 times for 57 yards and one score. Anderson finished the game 17-of-29 for 265 yards and three scores for Fordham. He also rushed for a touchdown. Chase Edmonds rushed 16 times for 73 yards to lead the rushing game.
Senior Randall Laguerre led the defense with 11 tackles, including five solo and two for a loss. Junior Kenneth Keen added 11 stops including four solos. Hinton had a fumble recovery and the touchdown, while senior Jarrod Cann had an interception in the loss.
The Blue Devils are back in action next Saturday on the road at Youngstown State beginning at 2 p.m.