New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Fordham quarterback Michael Nebrich threw for 413 yards and had four total touchdowns in the first half before the Rams held off Sacred Heart, 37-27, in the first round of the FCS playoffs on Saturday.
Fordham (12-1) became the fourth 12-game winner in Patriot League history while advancing to face No. 7 seed Towson in the second round next Saturday in Maryland.
Nebrich, a junior, helped the Rams to a 31-17 halftime lead with touchdown passes to three different receivers, Tebucky Jones, Sam Ajala and Carlton Koonce. Nebrich also scored on a 1-yard run.
Sacred Heart (10-3) closed within 31-27 in the third quarter, including Keshaudas Spence's second touchdown run.
But Michael Marando kicked his second and third field goals of the game in the fourth quarter to help Fordham close out the win.
Nebrich was 32-for-51 and intercepted once. Ajala had seven receptions for 128 yards and Dan Light caught nine passes for 68 yards.
Fordham's Levon Williams had eight tackles, two fumble recoveries and one interception. The Rams forced four turnovers.
Spence finished with 194 yards on 25 carries, but lost two fumbles. Quarterback RJ Noel was just 11-of-28 for 166 yards and two interceptions.
Despite the close proximity of the schools - Sacred Heart, from the Northeast Conference, is located in Fairfield, Conn. - they were meeting for the first time.