First Valpey Squad Favored to Whip Yale in 65th Annual Struggle Today
57,000 Will See Game
Slow men will run fast and fast men--well, they'll just "take off," as backfield Coach Davy Nelson would say--when Harvard and Yale meet for the sixty-fifth time today at 1:45 p.m. in the Stadium. Approximately 57,000 partisans have anteed up as much as $30 apiece for the privilege of watching the Crimson and the Blue match new coaches against each other for the first time since 1919.
Both men, Harvard's youthful Art Valpey and Yale's jovial Herman Hickman have had their troubles this year in their first crack at bigtime head-coaching. Of the two, Hickman probably got the most sleep last night, at Eli headquarters in the Hotel Bellevue. Here's why:
1) His blue-clad Yales will line up for the kickoff as 6 1/2 point underdogs.
2) Virtually every football expert able to get his hands on a typewriter has predicted a victory for the Harvards--their first since 1941.
3) Although groundskeepers covered the Stadium sward with canvas last night, the rain which weather forecasters say will continue throughout today may eventually mean slippery footing and a wet ball--which would hurt Valpey's precise, ballet-like single wing spinners and pitchouts more than it would affect Hickman's straight-ahead T attack.
4) The Blue high command has succeeded in exploiting the "seven dwarf" underdog angle--reports of "dismal" and "discouraging" practice sessions have been filtering out of New Haven all week.
These are the storm warnings, the stuff that produces upsets. Actually, there is little difference between the 1948 performances of the two teams. Both have enjoyed only ho-hum seasons.
Harvard has won three, lost four against major opponents. The Elis, against slightly less meaty opposition, have split even in eight games.
Both teams like to move the ball. The Crimson has slugged out more yardage (1385) in seven games this fall than Dick Harlow's 1947 team gained in nine and has scored at least one touchdown every Saturday.
Yale's ball-carriers, principally Levi Jackson, Bull Nadherny, and Tex Furse (remember?), are good, too. Jackson goes through a line faster than you can split an infinitive, and he's dynamite in an open field. He's clicked off 794 yards so far this season, ranking number 17 nationally on total offense. His 41-yard punt average also makes him the country's number 10 booter.
Quarterback Furse, who led the nation in pass percentage last year, has completed 48 out of 90 this fall for a net gain of 613 yards. His success with the Crimson's weak pass defense today may decide the outcome of the game.
Hickman and Valpey both look for a high-scoring game. This means that Emil Drvaric and Billy Booe may get a chance to match toes against each other. Booe, a 146-pound, five-foot six senior from Shelton, Conn., has kicked 27 straight points after touchdown, six at the end of last year and 21 this fall. Drvaric, considered the "Babe Ruth" of collegiate kickoff and point-after artists, has converted 12 times for the Crimson this year. He is one of 14 Seniors, including the Chipper, who will be playing their last game of football for the Crimson today