Unfortunately for Lehigh, it was also hard to beat the Fordham offense that showed up on homecoming in terms of physicalness, efficiency, and big play ability.
The Mountain Hawks showed a lot of fight on Saturday, playing tough until the end against the No. 12-ranked Rams. But after Fordham surged to a two-score lead early in the game, Lehigh's efforts to cut the deficit never really made it close, falling 48-27 in a career day for Fordham freshman RB Chase Edmonds.
Edmonds scored on runs of 1, 6, 5, 1, and 38 yards, the first two coming off of Fordham drives that deftly grabbed yardage in chunks from the Lehigh defense, mixing the run and pass very well.
"Going into it from a defensive standpoint, controlling the run game was going to be very important.," an obviously disappointed coach Andy Coen said. "Obviously, we weren't able to do that. We gave up too many big runs in the run game. We were hoping to contain them and get after the quarterback in the pass game. Obviously, we weren't able to do that, so that was disappointing for us."
The Rams took over on their own 17 after the defense forced another Lehigh offensive drive to sputter, but when QB Michael Nebrich found WR Brian Wetzel on third and 16 that ended up into a 32 yard gain, Edmonds' third touchdown was set up perfectly, a 5 yard run.
Edmonds and RB Kendall Pearcy rolled up nearly 300 yards of total rushing against the Mountain Hawks, including a back-breaking 57 yard run by Pearcy through a gigantic hole in the offensive line at the end of the first half that set up Edmonds' fourth TD of the half.
Like they have at many other times this season, Lehigh showed flashes of strong play, like when senior RB Rich Sodeke carried several Ram defenders into the end zone for the Mountain Hawks' first touchdown, and when sophomore QB Nick Shafnisky rifled a pass through three Fordham defenders to senior WR Josh Parris for another amazing touchdown.
But it wasn't nearly enough against the machine that was Fordham's offense, while the Ram defense managed to force Lehigh's "O" into 3-and-outs at several key times during the game - the times when the Mountain Hawks could cut it close, or make things interesting.
Not enough of these moments were not all strung together yet in one game from start to finish, something that nags at Coen greatly.
"It's part of the process everyone has to go through," Coen said. "Had we found a way to win the James Madison game or the Yale game, I think we'd be looking at different things year. I think maturation comes quicker when you have success, but we're a 1-6 football team. I don't have anything good to say about it."
On the Fordham side, the Rams, who had never won at Murray Goodman stadium, were relieved.
"We haven't won here since never," Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead said afterwards. "That wasn't a monkey off our back, it was an 800-pound gorilla. I've been part of a lot of losses here as a player and a coach, and that's a tribute to Lehigh. They have a history and tradition of winning. I love this stadium, but it's a hard place to play. So for us to get one in the left-hand column is a testament and tribute to our kids and how they performed today."
On Saturday, Fordham basically was able to replicate the recipe they had all season for victories - jump to an early lead, pile on the points, force the opposition to pass, and score just enough to not keep the game in doubt at all.
There was no Murray Goodman curse for the Rams - just the execution of a powerful, well-prepared football team that didn't do much to defeat themselves and did plenty to win in a place they had never won before.
"Another tough day for us here against another very, very good football team," Coen said. "They were definitely as advertised. We knew they were a good football team on film and knew we had to play very well. At times we did and at times, we obviously did not."