Photos by Austin Drucker ’17
It’s safe to say that Lafayette football has sufficient momentum heading into its winner-take-all showdown against archrival Lehigh next weekend in the 149th rendition of ‘The Rivalry.’
Led by an impressive defensive performance, Lafayette (4-6, 3-1 PL) bounced back from its loss against Colgate last weekend to defeat No. 5 ranked Fordham 27-14 and end the Rams’ bid for an undefeated season.
Next weekend’s matchup in Bethlehem will have an outright league title and FCS playoff berth at stake. Lehigh (8-2, 3-1 PL) defeated Colgate (4-6, 3-2 PL) this afternoon 31-14 and in the process eliminated the Raiders from league title contention.
Head coach Frank Tavani and his players spoke all week of putting the disappointment from the Colgate loss behind them.
“We have to put last week behind us, there is not much more to say about that,” Tavani said on Tuesday.
Indeed they did. The Lafayette defense forced five turnovers and had an especially strong second half. Granted, Fordham starting quarterback Mike Nebrich ‘14 was forced to sit with a knee injury, leaving backup Peter Maetzold ‘15 to fill his place. Maetzold had his moments but his four interceptions defined his performance.
Intercepting Maetzold was senior cornerback DeOliver Davis twice, junior safety Jared Roberts and cornerback Matt Smalley ‘16. Defensive lineman Collin Albershardt forced a fumble in the first quarter that was quickly turned into points when quarterback Drew Reed ‘17 found wide receiver Mark Ross for a 49-yard touchdown.
Reed had his toughest outing of his young career. He threw four interceptions but was bailed out by the defense, which would consistently put Fordham (10-1) in third-and-long situations that resulted in punts.
Running back Ross Scheuerman had a standout day for the Leopards. The junior had 23 carries for 169 yards and two touchdowns. On the only score of the third quarter, Scheuerman had 68 of the 77 yards on the drive and finished it with a two yard rushing touchdown off the right side.
Ross also had a productive day in his final game at Fisher Field. The Lafayette all-time leader in receptions and yards had six catches for 115 yards.
Lafayette led 17-7 at halftime and many thought back to last year when the Leopards led Fordham by that same margin before losing 36-27. There was no halftime letdown though and now Lafayette appears to be playing its best football at the most opportune time of the season.
Follow @TheLafayette for updates throughout the week as the Leopards attempt to win their first outright league championship since 1994.