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Fordham wins big

Written by: on Friday, August 31st, 2012

By BILL ALBRIGHT
WesternPAFootball.net Writer

Any way you look at it, it wasn’t the beginning of the 2012 football season Lock Haven University head coach John Allen and his troops were hoping for.

Although hoping for a win, Allen was at least hoping for his Bald Eagles to put on a good show by playing a solid football game in the season opener.

However, only minutes into the game, it became apparent that neither was going to happen as Fordham raced out to a quick 28-0 lead en route to a 55-0 whipping of the Bald Eagles Thursday night at Jack Coffey Field.

“I would like to have seen a better production out of the offense, but what I did find out is that our team is better from the standpoint of playing physical football,” said Allen. “Our defense played the best I have seen them play in my time here. We had three or four good stops, we forced at least two turnovers in this game and we didn’t have that almost the entire season last year. I am extremely proud of the effort that our defense gave us, especially with the young guys who stepped up for us. I think if we can continue to grow in that manner, we are going to have a very solid defense.”

While the offense wasn’t close to where he had hoped it would be, Allen wasn’t concerned about the performance of that unit.

“I am not really concerned about the offense because that will come (around),” he said. “We are going to get the production we hoped for. You have to give Fordham a lot of credit. They are a good football team and they are much better than I thought they would be. They were very active up front and they did a nice job with their defensive front and linebackers. But again, I would have liked to have seen a little better production from the offensive side of the ball.”

The Rams set the tone of the game right from the get go.

Fordham‘s first possession took nine plays to cover 67 yards for a touchdown while LHU went three-and-out. The Rams second possession was again a 9-play drive that covered 57 yards and again resulted in a touchdown. Once more the Bald Eagles failed to move the chains in a three-and-out series.

At the end of the first period, total offense was Fordham 120 yards, LHU, negative 8. For the game, it was 530-126 in favor of Fordham, while the Rams also held a huge edge in first downs at 26-8.

“Not only did that set the tone of the game, but it also kept our defense on the field for a long time,” Allen said. “That is a lot of plays with little or no break. But we’ll do better. We just have to get in and get some of the mistakes cleaned up and I do have to look at the film and give credit to their front four. They were big, more athletic and a lot better than I thought they were.”

If there were bright spots for the Bald Eagles in the game they came from Tashawn Bunch and James Goins on the defensive side of the line of scrimmage.

For the game, Bunch wound up with seven tackles that included a tackle for loss and a quarterback sack, while Goins made his presence known with a half dozen stops that also included a pair of quarterback sacks. George Christas also chipped in with seven stops for the Bald Eagle defenders, four solo efforts and three assists.

“That is what we are expecting from those guys,” said Allen. “Tashawn is a freshman who we just recruited and he is playing very well. And Goins played very well and that is the kind of production we need, not only from those two guys, but from the entire group. If we can clean up some mistakes that were made in the back end, we will do a much better job.”

Trailing 28-0, the Bald Eagles appeared ready to get on the scoreboard, but a drive stalled at the Fordham 3-yard line as time expired in the first half. From there, most of the LHU offensive action took place between the 20-yard lines.

Ram quarterback Ryan Higgins came into the game as a highly-touted signal-caller, and as the game unfolded, Allen and his crew found out that Higgins was worthy of all the pre-season accolades and possibly more.

For the game, Higgins completed 16 of 23 pass attempts for 229 yards and one score. When Higgins wasn’t busy filling the airlanes with passes, Carlton Koonce gave the Ram offense a different dimension overland with 146 yards on 19 lugs.

“He (Higgins) is the real deal and that is what you expect from a senior quarterback especially at this level,” Allen said. “He was everything he was advertised to be and he does a good job with their spread. They run a little bit of option here and there and they do a really good job of mixing things up. They also did a good job when they had to sit back and drop back a little bit. They are a good offensive football team and I look for them to do a good job in their conference.”

Despite the lopsided loss, Allen feels that his club can use the game as a learning experience for the rest of the season.

“Absolutely,” said Allen about his club being able to take some good things from the game. “I told our guys that we scheduled this game because I wanted them to go against that type of speed and I wanted our guys to see what it was like to play at that kind of tempo. I think they now understand how fast you have to play on both sides of the ball to win football games like this one. We got four quarters of good, fast football at that speed for our guys to go against and that is what I am most pleased about, plus we came out of the game without any injuries and I am happy about that as well.”

Now 0-1, the Bald Eagles will face a PSAC conference foe in their second outing when they once again travel down I-80 to East Stroudsburg for a meeting with the Warriors of coach Denny Douds. Kickoff for that game next Saturday is listed for 6:05 p.m. at Eiler-Martin Stadium.

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