Fordham football barely scraped by Central Connecticut State last Saturday. Now, with perennial FCS powerhouse Eastern Washington waiting in the wings, the Rams’ 117th home opener at Rose Hill should be anything but a walk in the Botanical Garden.
The visiting Eagles are among the most successful modern FCS programs. They have reached the FCS playoffs 12 times, including the semifinals in three of the last five campaigns.
“I can assure you this is a blue-collar team we’re bringing in,” Fordham head coach Andrew Breiner said Monday, referring to Eastern Washington. “They play football the right way. They play physical, they play fast. They execute their assignments well. It certainly will be a great challenge for us, but I’m excited for it.”
The 12th-ranked Eagles are 0-2 this season, with defeats against the Big 12’s Texas Tech and the No. 2-ranked FCS team, North Dakota State.
Fordham is coming off an underwhelming and costly 38-31 victory. The Rams (1-1) fell behind, 17-0, against a weak CCSU program before rallying for the win. They also lost star running back Chase Edmonds to an injury. The senior’s status for this weekend’s game, scheduled for a 1 p.m. kickoff at Jack Coffey Field in the Bronx, is unclear.
Edmonds’ availability will have a big impact against a high level, non-conference opponent. A victory could go a long way come FCS tournament time if Fordham fails to secure the Patriot League’s automatic bid and must vie for one of 10 at-large selections.
“It’ll be a great atmosphere. I expect to see the Jack packed with the Fordham faithful,” Breiner said. “We’ll need the fans behind us. We’ll need to play at a high level. And if we do that, we’ll give ourselves a chance to win.”