Ohio University, the team that few people know but everyone fears, opens the 1953 one-platoon football season against the varsity at 2 p.m. today in the Stadium.
An estimated crowd of 16,000, largest for an opener since 1948, is expected to watch a new rivalry open under warm, sunny skies. Attendance has been bolstered by free undergraduate tickets.
Uncertainties over the effect of limited substitution and a dearth or information on the Bobcats have kept the game off most of the betting lists. But the Crimson, with its two leading ground gainers back, is generally conceded a one touch down edge.
The psychological, if not the physical advantage, belongs to Ohio today, however. This is the big game of the Sesquicentennial schedule. A win over Harvard today would add a great deal to anniversary celebrations out West.
"We've made preparations for a very difficult opening game," Coach Lloyd Jordan said yesterday.
If only because its offensive is admittedly strong, chief concern among both Crimson rooters and Jordan will be the Harvard defense. Against B. U. in a scrimmage last week the varsity tacking was sloppy, while last year pass defense was a definite weakness. In preparation, the first team spent most of this week practicing defense against Ohio plays run by the junior varsity.
With Cal Lowenstein on the bench with a bad shoulder, Jordan will rely on his single wing almost exclusively. He has a T formation team with Joe Conzelman at quarterback ready, but a Crimson win must of necessity be fashioned from the single wing running.
Captain dick Clasby, fifth leading ground gainer in the country last year, has looked exceptionally good in practice, while 215 pound fullback John Culver should give the center protion of the Ohio line a rather bard day's bruising
The two new men in the backfield are starting primarily because of their defensive work, and this should strengthen the Crimson as a team. Bob Hardy a blocking back is a proven line backer and will do his first offensive work today calling offensive signals. Wingback Bob Cowles, top Crimson defensive halfback last year, should add balance to the wing attack with his left-handed throwing. Most likely to crash the Crimson backfield today is hard-running senior Brian Reynolds, who has worked out at wingback, tailback and fullback.
Starting at ends will be veteran, defensive men Harvey Popell and Bill Weber, while Nick Culolias and Bernie O'Brien will play tackles. Bill Meigs, the only sophomore in the starting lineup, is back at his guard post after recuperating from a mouth injury. The other guard is former freshman captain Tim Anderson. Jeff Coolidge, dependable first string center, will drop back on defense and help back the line, as he did last year.
Besides Lowenstein, only two other men are definitely on the injured list. Junior blocking back Jerry Marsh has a pulled leg muscle, while husky sophomore John Maher is resting a bad leg.
Ohio, which operates out of a straight T, opened its season two weeks ago with an impressive 26 to 0 victory over Toledo. In that game Coach Carroll Widdoes employed a shock team system, using separate teams in the first and third, and second and fourth quarters.
Fullback Ted Jackson was the Bobcat's biggest ground gainer last year, but the visitors also have a swift halfback named Tom Ascani and a good quarterback in Bill Frederick. Frederick possesses both a .429 completion average and a 6 foot 5 inch end named Lou Sawchik. The combination could hurt today