NEW YORK (AP) -This year marks the 125th anniversary of Fordham football and the Rams have commemorated the best way possible - with an unexpected run to the playoffs.
Fordham, the private Jesuit school in the Bronx that has produced Vince Lombardi and the famed Seven Blocks of Granite line he played on in 1936, hasn't had much success since moving up to Division I-AA in 1990. The Rams had made the playoffs one other time before this season.
On Saturday, the Rams clinched at least a share of the Patriot League title with a 24-21 victory over Holy Cross and the automatic berth in the Championship Subdivision playoffs.
``We talk to our kids about the tradition at Fordham,'' coach Tom Masella said. ``It gets overlooked being in the big city.''
The Rams have one more game left at home against Bucknell on Nov. 17, but with all the tiebreakers in their favor they can start at least peeking ahead to a possible first-round matchup. Delaware and Massachusetts are possible opponents.
Not much was expected of the Rams (8-2, 5-0) in their second season under Masella, a former New York city firefighter.
Fordham went 3-8 and 1-5 in the Patriot League last season, but this season started with promise: The Rams began 2-2, beating rival Columbia and playing well in losses against solid competition, Albany, N.Y., and Dayton.
``We had early success in the season and it's kind of given the kids a lot of confidence as we've moved forward,'' Masella said in a recent phone interview.
Fordham has won four games by seven points or less.
Running back Jonte Coven, a senior who hadn't produced much in his first three years at the Rose Hill campus, has rushed for 891 yards and five touchdowns.
John Skelton, a sophomore who made a few starts last season at quarterback, has also developed. He's thrown for 2,003 yards and 18 touchdowns.
On defense, captains Dominique Owens and Earl Hudnell have led the way at linebacker. Punter Ben Dato has done a good job helping the Rams win the field position competition with a 45-yard average.
The Rams aren't flashy, they just win.
``It's a great story that we've been able to build on that tradition,'' Masella said. ``We've added our own little niche to the Lombardi era and the Seven Blocks of Granite.''
Lombardi would've been proud.

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