WBZ will broadcast the Harvard-Columbia game at 1:46 this afternoon.
NEW YORK, N. Y., October 16--Installed as six-point underdogs in what may prove the pivotal game of the 1953 season, the undefeated Crimson eleven staged a brisk, confident workout at Baker Field today in preparation for its Ivy opener with Columbia tomorrow.
The game is vital to both squads. Lou Little's frustrated Lions have been nipped twice in a row by Ivy opponents--suffering a 20-19 loss to Princeton on a touchdown scored in the last 23 seconds of play and a 13-7 defeat to Yale last Saturday after leading the Elis for nearly three periods.
The Crimson, on the other hand, boasting a powerful offense and an outstanding line, may be riding towards its best season in more than a decade. A victory would extend one Crimson streak--two consecutive wins, and kill two others--four straight losses to Columbia and nearly seven years without a road victory.
Local bettors presage a Lion victory on two counts; they feel the big, veteran Columbia line will be able to stop the Crimson backfield, and they feel the Dick Carr-Dale Hopp passing combination--perhaps the best in the Ivy group--will overwhelm the Crimson secondary. But the New York betting is not confident, and several papers have rated the game a toss-up.
The game may well prove a wide-open, free scoring brawl, for each squad is offensively strong just where its opponent is most susceptible on defense.
The Crimson's pass defense, for example, looked shoddy against Colgate's Dick Lalla. And Columbia's strength is in the air: it has Dick Carr, third best passer in the Ivy group with 21 completions out of 58 aerials for 396 yards, and the two top pass receivers, Dale Hopp, who has caught 11 of Carr's throws, and Phil Bonnano, a converted guard.
Lions Weak Up Middle
Columbia, with an otherwise strong line, is reputedly weak up the middle. The Crimson could capitalize on this weakness by using fullback John Culver in spinner plays and straight power bucks.
The Lions will have to stop Dick Clasby to win, and they have succeeded in doing just that for two straight years. During last season's 16-7 victory, for example, they held Clasby to a net of 14 yards in 15 rushing attempts.
But Clasby is thriving on one-platoon football and seems much improved over the Clasby, who in 1952 broke the Ivy record for rushing yardage. He leads Ivy backs in rushing this season and ranks third in total offense--even though he has played in one less game than any of his competitors. His 170-yard per game total offense average is the highest in the country.
For the first time this season, Cal Lowenstein will also operate in the Crimson backfield. He will probably work from a T-formation, although he has been scrimmaging at tailback and other single-wing positions for most of this week.
But Columbia is a strong defensive club--third in the Ivy group--and may be able to halt the Crimson. The Lions have a strong line which includes men like Gene Wodeshick, John Casella, and Jerry Hampton, who played 55 minutes a game even under the two-platoon system. Fullback Keith Krebs is a converted line-backer, and end Bonnano is a former defensive guard.