Football Squad Rated As Favorite Over Penn Today; Injuries Plague Quakers
The varsity football team will go after its fourth straight victory this afternoon, against Pennsylvania, at Soldiers Field. Kickoff time is 1:30.
Last week's decisive victory over Dartmouth has started a good deal of talk about the possibilities of the varsity winning the Ivy League championship this fall. Today's contest will go far towards determining whether this is just empty and over-optimistic chatter, or something to be taken quite seriously.
The Crimson will be favored this afternoon, but there is considerable fear in some circles that a letdown may be impending, after the Dartmouth win. Coach Yovicsin himself seems to be somewhat uneasy about the matter. He said yesterday afternoon that he had no worries on the score of overconfidence, but also remarked that "there are other kinds of a letdown, you know."
In many ways the Harvard football picture could hardly be brighter than it is now. The Crimson is in remarkably good physical shape, and has just beaten a team as strong as any it will have to face all year. Its defense has seemed superb--allowing just one touchdown in the last three games. Its fiery little quarter-back, Charlie Ravenel, has greatly picked up offense that was too much given to sputterings and stallings in the early part of the season.
And yet the very rosiness of this situation is somehow alarming. It is a bit too good to be true, at least for a Harvard football team.
Penn Has Numerous Injuries
The Pennsylvania picture, by contrast, could hardly be blacker. The Quakers were figured to be a top Ivy team this year, and yet they have managed to win only one out of five games to date. Last week they took a terriffic shellacking from nationally-ranked Navy--something not exactly calculated to raise team morale.
In addition they have a very serious injury problem. "We're hurting and badly," was the way their coach, Steve Sebo, put it yesterday afternoon; and to prove his point, he proceeded to tick off the names of eight of Penn's best 22 players who have not been able to practice at all this past week.
Two of these did not even make the trip to Cambridge. They are tackles Joe Hordubay and Dennis Troychak. The other six will dress for the game and may see some action, but they will almost certainly be operating at something less than full effectiveness.
Last week also, the Crimson played an opponent that was weakened at the tackles by injuries. Ravenel made the most of the situation then, concentrating his ground attack at these vulnerable spots. It is not unlikely that we will see more of the same today.
Injuries notwithstanding, Yovicsin insists that this will be "a very tough game." Pennsylvania, he points out, played Dartmouth on even terms when the Indians were at full strength. And they have defeated a solid Brown team.
Their varied attack--featuring plays from the straight-T, the winged-T, and the single wing--will present Harvard with some defensive problems it has not encountered in previous games this fall.
Furthermore, they have been able, more than any other Ivy squad, to switch off two entire elevens and thereby to keep all their personnel better rested.
Sebo has expressed great respect for Harvard. "They're the same team that came down and beat the devil out of us last year," he said gloomily, yesterday afternoon.
Pessimism, however, is sometimes an effective pose for the coach of an underdog...