It was an orthodox T-formation play, with Bill DoGraaf faking a hand-off to a back coming across the line, and then pitching out to Dick Jackson. It wasn't a new play, nor a very hard one to diagnose, but it was enough to give a good Cornell team a 20-7 victory over Harvard Saturday.
This scrappy Big Red eleven won the game a very hard way. It disregarded the reports about its supposedly weak line, and pounded away at what was heralded as a powerful Crimson front wall. Quarterback DeGraaf, who did an excellent job of signal-calling, ran the majority of his plays in the center of the line, and then when the Crimson tightened in the middle used this pitch-out play to Jackson.
On other Saturday afternoons this fall DeGraaf may not be able to get away with this stratagem. He certainly failed against Colgate nine days ago, losing 21 to 6. But Saturday both DeGraaf and Jackson were superb, and the blocking of a big left end named Stan Intihar was more than most coaches hope for.
DeGraaf Best Quarterback
There have been many good quarterbacks performing in Soldiers Field in the past few seasons. There were Brown's Pete Kohut, Columbia's Claude Benham and Dartmouth's Bill Beagle, but Cornell's star was the best. His sleight of hand fooled oven the most experienced observers in the press box, and his pitch outs and forward passes were extremely accurate. He scored all three Cornell touchdowns, and kicked two extra points, besides playing the entire game on defense.
Jackson has always been a very deceptive runner, but Saturday his ability to change direction, and pure speed made Harvard tacklers look surprisingly inadequate at the times when a sure tackle was needed.
For the first fifteen minutes of the game, both squads tested each other out, blasting away at the line. But neither team seemed to be able to start a concerted drive. Bill Meigs and Ted Metropoulos were stopping Cornell thrusts into the center of the line, and DeGraaf had not begun to try the outside. The Big Red line, showing a lot of drive, was breaking up the single wing power plays.
Cornell Gets Break
But early in the second quarter, Cornell capitalized on a tremendous break, and then, six points ahead, began to move on the outside. Before the quarter was over the Ithacans had a 13-0 lead.
Starting from mid-field, the Big Red moved to the Harvard 14 in six tries, with a 17-yard run by Jackson being the key play. The Crimson defense suddenly tightened, and hold Cornell on downs.
At this point, Ron Eikenberry who had just entered the game for John Simourian at wingback, fumbled, and Cornell scored on the next play. The Crimson had lined up in a formation to the left, and the snap from center was slightly low, bouncing off Eikenberry's hands. Instead of pouncing on the ball, he tried to pick it up, but the onrushing Cornell line jarred the ball away from him, and Paul Boguski recovered. DeGraaf on the first play from the eight-yard line, faked a hand-off to Cy Benson, and then skirted his own left end to score. His kick was wide.
After the Crimson was forced to punt to mid-field, the Big Red scored again seven plays later. With second down and ten to go on the Crimson 49, DeGraaf faked to Art Boland, and then pitched out to Jackson. Getting good blocking, and evading at least three tacklers, Jackson carried to the 12. Five plays later, DeGraaf plunged from the one to score. His kick was good.
With about four minutes to go in the half, the Crimson came very close to scoring. Although the varsity had three plays in which to cover five yards, the Big Red line stopped the drive. On second down with two to go on the Cornell 46, Matt Botsford heaved a long pass to Bob Morrison on the 12. Morrison was surrounded by two defenders but made a sensational catch, giving the Crimson a first down only twelve yards away from a score. Time was rapidly running out.
On the first play from scrimmage, Simourian, running from a single wing to the left, knifed down to the five. Gianelly bucked to the three, but on third down, Botsford was stopped for no gain. With just one play left in the half, Botsford threw a pass to Leo Daley in the end zone, which DeGraaf successfully broke up. The Crimson was also guilty of pass interference on the same play.
Jackson Smashes Line
The second half was to be almost all Cornell's, as the weary Crimson line, substituting very infrequently, began to wilt under the pressure of the line smashes of Jackson and Bo Roberson. But at the start of the thrid quarter, the varsity was still in the game.
With Botsford handling the ball on every play, the Crimson moved to the Cornell 30, with a third down and 13 to go. The 5'-11" tailback faded back to pass and threw to Morrison, who made another great catch on the three. And this time the Crimson scored as Gianelly bucked over from the one. Bing Crosby's kick was good.
But with Roberson and Jackson doing most of the running, Roberson up the middle, and Jackson on the outside, the Big Red quickly got that touchdown back. The big play in this march was a 22-yard run by Jackson to the four-yard line after taking a pitchout from DeGraaf. The 6'-2" quarterback scored his third touchdown on the next play, and again the kick was good.
That insurance touchdown took the spirit from the Crimson. It couldn't do anything with the ball afterward, and in fact, Cornell held the ball with the exception of two series of downs throughout the fourth period.