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Previewing the Patriot League: Lafayette

by Mike Watts
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Bob Ahrens | WFUV Sports

Leopards to make two Bronx trips, tripped up Fordham in Easton in 2013

This is the fifth of seven articles that preview the 2014 Patriot League. They are in the inverse order of the preseason poll voting by Patriot League football head coaches and sports information directors, who did not include their own school in the selections. Fordham was included in the preseason poll for the first time since introducing scholarships in 2010.

2013 Record: 5-7 Overall, 4-1 Patriot League
2013 Meeting: Lafayette 27, Fordham 14 (Easton, PA)
Head Coach: Frank Tavani (15th season, 76-82)

When the Rams visited Easton there was an eerie feeling to those watching Fordham’s incredible season. It felt as if the wheels were coming off after the 10-0 start.

The run defense had been gashed all season, and Lafayette was very adept at running the football. The offense was coping with the loss of Michael Nebrich to injury. Uncharacteristic miscues across the board didn’t help the Rams either.  On the other sideline, the Leopards were playing their best football and were on a mission to win the Patriot League (a mission they completed the following week at Lehigh).  It was a perfect storm that ended Fordham’s perfect season in week eleven, when the Rams were ranked fifth in the nation.

Frank Tavani’s team has an exciting year ahead, one in which they will  rematch with Fordham on national television and visit the Bronx to play Lehigh at Yankee Stadium.  The Leopards offensive spark, quarterback Drew Reed, is now a sophomore and will carry a little bit more of the offensive load in his first full year under center.  Surely the return of talented senior runner Ross Scheuerman will help the offense, even as it loses Mark Ross to graduation.

Junior Matt Smalley highlights the defense (all-Patriot League defensive back) and special teams (all-Patriot League return specialist) for the Leopards. A side the will be tested off the bat with a road game against Fordham’s 2013 first round playoff opponent, Sacred Heart.

Hear interviews with Ross Scheuerman and coach Frank Tavani from Patriot League Media Day on July 31 below.

WFUV is the home of Fordham Rams football all season long. Listen live on 90.7FM or WFUVSports.org for with exclusive coverage including Monday Night Quarterback and pre and postgame interviews with head coach Joe Moorhead.

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Head Coach Frank Tavani Running Back Ross Scheuerman