WEST POINT, New York — After losing most his triple-option weapons and two dozen other players to graduation, Army coach Jeff Monken expected to learn plenty about his team in real time Friday night.
Even so, he may not have expected this.
Chase Edmonds ran for 110 yards and three touchdowns, including a 10-yard rush to break a 29-29 tie with 12:04 left, and added 140 yards on six catches as Fordham stunned Army 37-35 in the opener for both teams.
Making his first start, Kevin Anderson threw for 266 of his 322 yards in the first half and finished 15 for 23 for the Rams, who beat Army for the first time in five games dating back to 1891 — when the Black Knights beat Fordham for their program's first win.
"We played as a family, and we were just so confident," said Anderson, who transferred from Marshall. "The whole time we just fought together as a team and it was just a family victory."
Rams fans who made the hour trip north whooped it up in the stands and outside the visiting locker room nine months after Fordham fell in the FCS playoffs.
It was a long way from the first quarter, when Fordham fumbled on its first play and trailed seconds later.
The Rams went up 37-29 on Edmonds' third touchdown and a two-point conversion. Army responded with a 27-yard touchdown pass from Ahmad Bradshaw to Edgar Poe —who earlier dropped a critical punt — to cut it to 37-35 with 2:33 to go. But Bradshaw's rush on the two-point conversion fell short, and Fordham recovered the onside kick with 2:32 to go.
"I thought we needed that onside kick to have a chance to win," Monken said.
Army did get the ball back with 55 seconds left, but Bradshaw threw incomplete on fourth down to seal it for Fordham.
Also debuting, Bradshaw led the Army option with two touchdowns on 143 rushing yards and finished 6 of 14 in the air for 107 yards and a pair of touchdowns.
Overcoming a shaky start, Fordham led 27-21 at halftime and got a safety early in the third to lead 29-21. Army clawed back on a one-yard touchdown rush by Matt Giachinta with 4 minutes left, knotting it at 29 on a two-point conversion.
"I think we made a lot of good plays, but at the end of the day, it came down to the little things that we did wrong," Giachinta said.
Coming off the Patriot League title and picked to repeat under fourth-year coach Joe Moorhead, Fordham also defeated FBS opponent Temple two years ago.
"It's a huge step for our program," Moorhead said. "I couldn't be more happy for these kids."
On Fordham's first play from scrimmage at its own 18, linebacker Bayle Wolf leveled Anderson and recovered the fumble, setting Army up with first-and-goal at the 8. Two plays later, Bradshaw attempted his first career pass — finding Joe Walker in the back of the end zone for a rare Army touchdown pass.
"We addressed this this afternoon in our team meeting," Moorhead. "One of our big points was, weather the storm. Never too high, never too low. There's going to be ebbs and flows in the game."
Sophomore Bradshaw, starting over senior A.J. Schurr, had two 15-yard scoring runs in the first half. In between, Makay Redd's 22-yard field goal, set up by Anderson's 87-yard pass to Edmonds, put Fordham up 17-14.
Anderson completed his first five passes for 77 yards for a team that came in without much experience at quarterback; no one on the roster but the punter had even thrown a pass before Friday.
Fordham outgained Army 445-389.
"He's an elusive and strong runner," Wolf said of guarding Edmonds.
Last November, Army escaped Fordham in the Michie Stadium finale, a 42-31 win. This time, the Rams dealt Army an early blow with second-year coach Monken looking to build on 2014's 4-8 finish.