Hello Mr. Anderson: First-year starting quarterback has Rams rolling

Kevin Anderson fumbled on his first play from scrimmage in his first real action in a football game in four years. With all he went through to get back on the field he wasn’t going to let that begin to define his tenure as Fordham University quarterback.

What followed epitomizes his career: bouncing back, and bouncing back pretty much every time. The 6-foot-2 Anderson said at first doubt went through his head, but he immediately shook off the pressure. He finished the game with 322 passing yards and ran for a touchdown to lead Fordham to a season opening victory at West Point, 37-35, it first ever victory over the Black Knights.

That set the tone for the season, as Anderson’s stellar play has led the Rams to a 7-1 record (3-0 in the Patriot League) and a Top 10 ranking in FCS football. But he’s learned what a grind college football can be.

“At first I was very nervous in my first game, but now I’ve been able to settle in and get a few games under my belt,” Anderson said. “I definitely feel like I’ve been able to mature. Now I know what to expect.”

It hasn’t been an easy road for Anderson to this point, but it’s all came together after a long wait. He was sought after by several Division I schools while still in high school in his hometown Boca Raton, Florida, but was injured his senior year.

After a year as a backup at Marshall University, he transferred to Fordham. He again sat the bench behind incumbent starter Mike Nebrich. He played in just one game, in which he ran for a five-yard touchdown against Georgetown. Before the game at Army he had not attempted a pass in a live game since his senior year of high school in 2012.

This season has been his first taste of full-time action in almost four years, but he hasn’t played like it. Despite the preseason concerns at quarterback after Nebrich graduated, Anderson is one of the best quarterbacks in FCS football. He ranks fourth in passing touchdowns (21 to just 5 interceptions), 13th in passing yards (1,963) and second in passing efficiency (178.8). He also has 304 rushing yards and a 65.0 completion percentage.

“It’s definitely a challenge every day, we play against a lot of good defenses,” Anderson said. “What I learned the most is how much of a grind it is mentally.”

The first test came after a 14-7 Week Two loss to nationally ranked Villanova, in which Anderson threw for just 85 yards. Fordham has won its last six games and is averaging over 45 points per game during their winning streak. He is aided by star running back Chase Edmonds ran 31 times for a Patriot League record 347 yards and three touchdowns in a win over Lehigh last week. All Anderson did was toss four touchdowns.

He threw five touchdowns in back-to-back games against Columbia and Monmouth. He’s thrown for over 300 yards four times this season. Against Holy Cross, he even ran for 115 yards.

“He’s definitely stepped up to the challenge. In the quarterback position some people say they’re looking for a game manager, and I don’t believe that’s the case with our offense,” Fordham head coach Joe Moorhead said. “In terms of moving the offense and scoring points and limiting negative plays, I think Kevin’s done everything we wanted.”

Even during this winning streak, Anderson has again had to overcome obstacles. Two weeks ago against Penn, Fordham surrendered a 35-10 lead, but Anderson led the Rams down the field to set up the winning field goal with eight seconds left.

Last week against Holy Cross, Anderson threw two interceptions but rallied the team from an early 10-point deficit to win in overtime 47-41. It’s been highly stressful, but Anderson has been more than up to the challenge. With room for improvement, Anderson has Fordham for another stellar season, ranked No. 11 in the country and the favorite to win a second straight Patriot League title.

“Even when we have big games, it’s crazy how other people can look at it from the outside looking in. Because if you’re just a fan, watching game you’re saying I had a big game, my stats are good,” Anderson said. “But then if you watch it on film, it’s totally different. There are always things I’m always constantly working on.”

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