In 63 years of football, Colgate has never opened a season with three consecutive defeats.
This year, the Red Raiders have already lost their first two games. They fell to Cornell, 27 to 7, two weeks ago, and lost to Holy Cross, 19 to 6 last Saturday.
And they go into today's game against the Crimson with at least five regulars on the injured list.
Captain Gary Chandler, who last year was named to Sport magazine's list of ten top offensive ends in the nation, is still out of his new halfback position with a knee injury.
Senior Jack Spalik suffered a pinched shoulder nerve in the Holy Cross game, and won't be able to play at all today, much less take over as a starting halfback for Chandler. Spalik is normally a fullback, but shifted when Chandler was hurt.
Now, Spalike's replacement at halfback, Chuck Cooley, is also out with an injury, and he may not be able to play at all.
Line men Dick Woolbert, Tom Miller, Mike Corbo, and Tom Powell are all on the injured list, and Miller appears to be the only one who will be able to play even briefly today.
But Coach Hal Lahar isn't taking too pessimistic an attitude. His starting line despite substitutions, will average 203 pounds per man, an 11-pound advantage over the Crimson. It will include Don Tomanek a junior, who is playing his third year of varsity football, and Dick Ross, a veteran of last year's first team offensive eleven.
Best of all, Lahar will have Dick Lalla, one of the top passers in the east back at quarterback.
Lalla is only a junior. But he has been the first-team Colgate quarterback since late in his freshman year. Last year, despite a leg injury which made it necessary for him to pass from a protected fullback position, he helped Colgate nearly overcome Harvard's winning 21-to-20 margin.
This year, Lalla is completely recovered from an operation on his leg, and has been a standout, despite Colgate's setbacks.
The backs playing behind him in Lahar's fast T-formation, of necessity aren't Colgate's best. Neither are they weak sisters.
Halfback Frank Nardulli, a sophomore, is tabbed as the Raiders' "most promising backfield prospect"--as a freshman star, he scored nine touchdowns in five games.
Running with him at the other halfback spot will be Art Fox, a senior who saw little starting action before this season, but who accounted for 171 yards on the ground against Holy Cross.
Solid Right Defense
At fullback will be junior Tim McCarthy, who is considered a good defensive player, although he has had little offensive experience.
Pete Popovich, burly 215-pounder, and Ross, 187, will start at the ends for Lahar. Ross paired with Chandler at the offensive ends last year.
Senior Mike Morog, who played first-string defense in 1952, will open at right tackle, and Tomanek, the junior who has already won two varsity letters, scheduled to open at right guard.
The left side of the line will be less experienced. Chuch Hatcher will start at tackle, replacing Powell, and Tom Krumweile will open at the left guard post, substituting for Miller. Both are sophomores; but both weigh 205 pounds.
At center, Lahar will probably start stocky sophomore Bill Fackelman, but he will play only until regular Walt Nestvogel can size up the Crimson eleven. Nestvogel, a senior, calls defensive signals from the Raider center spot. He is a converted fullback and starred as a linebacker last season on defense.
So despite a host of injures to regulars, injures to replacement, and even injuries to replacements' replacements, perhaps all is not black on the maroon front. Perhaps the Red Raiders won't lose their first three games this season. At least they'll he hustling in their try for 64.