Crusaders Edged By Fordham 36-32

Ryan Laughlin

WORCESTER, Mass. – Fordham tailback Carlton Koonce scored on a one-yard touchdown run with just 11 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter, to lift the Rams to a 36-32 victory over the Holy Cross football team at Fitton Field. Koonce finished the day with 175 yards and two touchdowns on 34 carries, and received the Dr. Edward N. Anderson Award as the Most Valuable Player of the Crusaders' Family Weekend game. Holy Cross falls to 1-7 overall, while the Rams improve to 5-3 on the season.

After trailing 23-10 at halftime, Holy Cross scored on its opening possession of the third quarter with a 24-yard touchdown pass from sophomore quarterback Ryan Laughlin (Glen Mills, Pa.) to junior wide out Mike Fess (Caldwell, N.J.). Early in the fourth quarter, Laughlin and Fess hooked up once again on a nine-yard scoring strike, and the Crusaders led 24-23.

Fordham responded on its next drive with a one-yard touchdown run by Ryan Higgins, and pulled back in front 29-24 after the two-point conversion failed. Holy Cross came right back down the field with Laughlin rushing the ball 27 yards for a score, then hitting senior wide receiver Gerald Mistretta (Brooklyn, N.Y.) for the two-point conversion to make the score 32-29 with 3:22 left to play. But the Rams were able to drive 78 yards in 15 plays on their final possession, to rally for the victory.

In the first half, Fordham built its lead on a 24-yard touchdown pass from Higgins to Brian Wetzel and a nine-yard scoring run by Koonce, to go along with three field goals from Patrick Murray. The Crusaders' first half points came on a 30-yard pass from Laughlin to Mistretta, and a 29-yard field goal by junior placekicker John Macomber (Vienna, Va.).

Laughlin had an outstanding day off the bench, completing 18 of 28 passes for 223 yards and three touchdowns, while rushing four times for 36 yards and a score. Fess totaled eight receptions for 136 yards and two touchdowns, while junior tailback Reggie Woods (Bowie, Md.) added 71 yards on 15 carries. Higgins completed 38 of 56 attempts for 407 yards and a score for Fordham, while Wetzel caught nine passes for 130 yards and a touchdown.

Holy Cross returns to action on Saturday, Nov. 3, when it plays host to Lehigh at 12:30 p.m.