#23 Fordham at Army – September 1st, 6 PM Michie Stadium West Point, NY
TV: CBS Sportsnetwork
Streaming: Knight Vision ($9.95)
For the second time in three years the Fordham Rams open their football season with the short trip up the Hudson to take on the Army Black Knights. The Rams went into historic Michie Stadium two years ago and came away with a thrilling 37-35 win. All-American RB Chase Edmonds led the way with 250 total yards of offense; 110 yards rushing 3 TD & 140 yards receiving. Making his first career start for Fordham, current QB Kevin Anderson added 322 yards through the air while making no mistakes. Those two will once again need to lead the away if the Rams want to beat an Army team (8-5 in ’16) coming off their best season in 20 years.
If Fordham wants to take down the Black Knights for a second straight time they must stop an Army rushing attack that returns many of its key pieces. Army’s rushing attack ranked second (332.2 ypg) in FBS in 2016. Stopping senior QB Ahmad Bradshaw (184 carries 824 yards 8 TDs) has to be the primary focus of the Fordham defense. He’s the heartbeat of Army’s triple option offense. If he’s able to effectively distribute the ball to FB Daniel Woolfolk and RB Jordan Asberry Fordham will be in for a long night. While the Rams are better equipped to handle the run this year, Army will present challenges Fordham won’t see the rest of 2017. There’s no doubt Fordham DT Manny Adeyeye and Co. will have their hands for 60 minutes.
Fordham’s chances to win will depend on their balanced, explosive offense. They have the necessary tools (veteran QB, RB, OL) to go into a hostile environment and escape with a victory. The Army defense was solid against the run 2016 (121.2 ypg) but trying to stop All-American RB Chase Edmonds behind a really good offensive line is not the average chore. Especially with QB Kevin Anderson’s ability to make big plays in the passing game. Anderson has proven over time be an excellent decision maker which is huge when playing in a tough environment. The Black Knights return 7 starters on defense along with a few key reserves so they should be well prepared for what the Fordham offense will try and do. LB Kevin Aukerman (15 TFL, 7.5 sacks) is someone the Rams offense must pay attention to. Aukerman and fellow backer Kenneth Brinson might be the best pair of backers Fordham sees all year.
Fordham has a chance to win this game but they’ll need a phenomenal performance by their defense to pull it off. After getting run over by Navy’s explosive triple option in last year’s opener, the Rams will know what to expect against Army’s well-oiled attack. The question is can they take that experience against the Midshipmen and build off it. Fordham’s offense will have success against the Army defense. It’s just hard to see them having enough possessions to win a shootout at Michie Stadium.
Prediction: Army 47 Fordham 34