The Princeton eleven, which faces the University in the Stadium this afternoon, stands out as one of the three strong and undefeated teams in the East. It has scored 114 points to the 31 totalled by its opponents.
Coach Roper started the 1922 season with only four veterans: Captain Dickenson, Cleaves, Baker, and Sniveley; and with seemingly very little experienced new material. The situation appeared very discouraging. Yet daily the Tiger eleven has grown stronger, crushing every opponent, and finally showing a great streak of brilliance two weeks ago against the powerful Chicago aggregation. Last week when Swarthmore invaded the Palmer Stadium, the regulars were kept on the sidelines and the substitute eleven did not look so impressive. But the calibre of the Tiger eleven which will take the field against the Crimson today may be judged by its performance against Coach Stagg's Chicago team.
Unlike recent Princeton teams which have been built around one or two individual stars, such as Loury or Keck, this year's Orange and Black eleven has no one man about whom either the defensive or the attack turns. This absence of outstanding players has brought about a very desirable result in the way of remarkable team work. Although the eleven contained several very inexperienced candidates, harmony and smoothness have been the striking features of its performances.
Overwhelmed Johns Hopkins.
Princeton opened her season on September 30 against Johns Hopkins. The visitors held the Tiger scoreless during the first quarter but then weakened as the Orange and Black backfield crashed through for four touchdowns and a field goal. Coach Roper used many substitutes yet none of the combinations showed much power. Although three different quarterbacks were sent in, all showed poor judgment at times in the selection of plays and none was able to instill a real drive into the eleven.
Defeated Virginia 5-0.
On the following week Princeton faced Virginia in a driving rain and won a 5 to 0 victory. Handling the ball securely was an impossibility and neither team could advance by scrimmage. Both resorted to a kicking game in which the Orange and Black had a decided advantage with Cleaves, Vangerbig, and Hills doing the punting. In fact it was superiority in this department which gave Smith his chance to send over his dropkick and latter gave the Tigers their safety.
On October 14 Princeton met her first real opposition in Colgate. Although out-played for the greater part of the game, Princeton was victorious, 10 to 0, chiefly through the brilliancy of Cleaves, who intercepted a pass and unaided ran 70 yards through a broken field for a touchdown. The punting of Cleaves was the feature of the game as well as several excellent run backs of kicks which he executed in the second half. The Princeton line was completely outplayed in the opening periods but later stiffened and more than held its own.
Maryland Swamped 26-0.
Displaying their first real attack of the season, the Tiger eleven easily downed Maryland 26 to 0 on the next week-end. The Princeton team seemed transformed from the comparatively weak aggregation which it had been against Colgate to a powerful eleven with drive, ably supported by an impenetrable line. The visitors made only one first down while the Tigers piled up 14 all of which were earned. Cleaves's punting was again a feature. Likewise he reeled off a 45-yard run for the first touchdown. Dinsmore was used at quarterback during the first half and his choice of plays as well as his execution was practically flawless.
On the following Saturday, October 28, Princeton journeyed to Chicago, seeking revenge from the defeat administered by Coach Stagg's men last year, and gained it by a 21 to 18 victory in one of the most sensational games ever played.
Outpunted in First Half.
In the first half the Maroons gained an unexpected advantage when Vangerbig, who had displaced Cleaves in this department, was outpunted. Although the Tigers had scored early on a long runback of a Chicago punt by Cleaves and again by a 40-yard forward pass which the Princeton veteran nabbed in miraculous fashion, the Chicago team was out-rushing their visitors and their line was immeasurably superior.
Tiger Open Game Successful.
But in the third quarter the Princeton team seemed to change entirely. The speed, precision and skill of the Tigers in open field work first became a genuine menace. They had tried line plays and various shift formations without success and opened up their play in desperation. Princeton's strength in substitutes also became apparent. The terrific battering of the Chicago backs encountered an ever stiffening resistance. And after the Tiger had tied the score, a last-minute Chicago advance met disaster on the one-yard line when three desperate plunges were stopped dead.
At no time during the season had Princeton displayed such an excellent brand of football. The line was wide awake and stopped every new Chicago play before it was underway. The overhead attack was nearly perfect and the line plunging was greatly improved.
Subs Downed Swarthmore 22-13.
Last Saturday an Orange and Black eleven composed mainly of substitutes defeated Swarthmore 22 to 13. The Tiger second string men were far from impressive. Penalties and fumbles were their chief faults, coupled with an inability to gain in the timely moments.
The showing of the Princeton team throughout the season points clearly to two or three facts. The Tiger eleven, although inconsistent, shows remarkable streaks of brilliancy greatly to be feared. Furthermore the team exhibited in the Chicago game a peculiar ability to show marked improvement when trailing its opponent, an ability or spirit which has and usually does bring a victory.
Aerial Game is Biggest Threat.
Princeton offers her greatest threat in the aerial game. Throughout the season well executed forward passes have been consistent ground gainers, especially in the times of need. Cleaves stands out in this department on the receiving end, and more than one pass will be hurled in his direction by the Princeton quarterback this afternoon.
Work of Line is Unequal.
The play of the Princeton line has been checkered throughout the season, and, like the team as a whole, may or may not show its brilliancy today. In the Chicago game the substitutes as well as the men who started in the line showed their ability to hold in the pinches.
One weakness of the visitors is their lack of an experienced and reliable quarterback. Gorman, who led the team in the Chicago game, is able to instill a better spirit and drive into the eleven than any of the other candidates. He exhibited poor judgment in the selection of plays in the earlier contests but showed brilliant headwork in the last quarter of the game with the westerners. In fact his playing is typical of this year's Princeton team as a whole which has frequently given an exhibition of only mediocre football but which on the other hand has and may today show a superb brand of football rarely surpassed by a Tiger eleven.