McCarthyism is a rather nasty business, the Harvard football team learned Saturday. In the process of learning, Harvard lost to the Crusaders of Holy Cross, 34-20.
Bluffing, running, jabbing, passing, dashing and faking, quarterback Pat McCarthy directed his crusade with precision and daring, and managed to confuse and upset Harvard's defenses. At game's end he had personally accounted for 187 yards.
Losing no time in starting their quest, the Crusaders almost captured the game in the first three minutes. Jim Gravel ran the opening kick-off back to the Holy Cross 40 from the 15. McCarthy was in an excellent position for attacking. He did immediately, but his first pass failed. Undaunted, he continued with his pass action style of football, and only three plays later the ball was laid on the Harvard 18. Switching to orthodox, short run plays, McCarthy then had his fellow backs assault the interior line until he had achieved the one yard line. Harvard's forward wall found it impossible to resist the superior weight that was thrown against them.
Harvard was spared the test of a goal line stand, however. The officials found McCarthy's gang guilty of three successes rule infractions, and the danger dissipated on the 22 yard line.
Opponents Draw First Blood
The first brush with McCarthyism was thus scary, but indecisive. No one was certain Harvard had sufficient strength to withstand another attack. The answer came in the second quarter when Holy Cross scored 22 points in ten minutes.
But for the rest of the opening period, Harvard stayed in contention. Mike Bassett and Terry Bartolet were not able achieve any significant gains and McCarthy, who spent the rest of the quarter practicing passing and drilling his back field in off tackle runs, couldn't move past the Holy Cross 34. Two spectacular blocks by Bill Taylor and a great tackle by guard Walt Dobrzelecki of punt returner Jim Holloran kept the Crusaders at safe distance.
The situation changed rapidly in the second period. Harvard failed to gain a first down on the Crusaders' 22, and McCarthy and Tom Hennessey went to work.
Hennessy, known around Worcester as The Blur, raced along the sidelines for 20 yards, displaying a relative immunity to all Harvard attempts at tackling.
Finally, on the third try, a group of Crimson men stopped him. This run was the pattern for many others: Crimson holders were repeatedly shaken off as inconsequential objects, and it nearly always took a joint effort to bring a Crusader down.
On the next play, McCarthy did what Coach John Yovicsin had feared most. Rolling far to his left, he unleashed a 43 yard pass to Hennessey on the Harvard nine. So accurate was the throw, and so sure were Hennessey's hands, that he caught it despite the efforts of two defenders. The stunned Stadium crowd wasn't surprised when McCarthy rolled to his right and entered the end zone a minute later.
The effect of the McCarthy bomb was devastating. Bartolet and Bassett tried to get Harvard back in the game with a similar approach, but Bassett's pass fell short and Bartolet found himself facing five Crusader linemen when he dropped back to throw. They tackled him, viciously.
McCarthy chose a different receiver for the next touchdown--Al Snyder--who took a short lob and scampered the 45 remaining yards opposed by only a few Crimson tacklers.
Harvard began to crumble and a Crimson fumble on the first play after the kick-off gave McCarthy a third opportunity, this time on the Harvard 20. He negotiated the yardage with another pass and a few line plunges.
Sophomore Tom Bilodeau entered the game for Harvard at this point and on the kick-off found out personally what was bothering the Harvard offense--poor blocking and lack of protection. Before he took more than four steps he was face to face with seven Holy Cross tack. lers.
Despite this discouragement, Bassett finally located a Holy Cross hole and dashed 26 yards up the middle. Scott Harshbarger, who was one of the most consistent Crimson backs of the day, advanced the ball to the 34. Then for a moment, Harvard baffled the opposition with a perfectly executed play.
Bassett pitched to Bilodeau running far to the right, who flipped a 30 yard pass to Harshbarger. Harshbarger devoured the ball and tumbled into the end zone.
As usual, Harvard presented a much better performance in the second half, but McCarthyism and the jarring tackles of Harvard backs continued unabated. After the game, Bill Grana reported his head was rining from the tackles. The cannon on the sidelines left fans' ears rining as it boomed twice in eight minutes for Holy Cross TDs in the third quarter.
By the time Harvard began to move, against a second string line, it was too late. The action was nonetheless interesting. Harshbarger advanced 47 yards on a double reverse ploy with Bilodeau, and Bilodeau took hand-offs and pitchouts from Bartolet to gain the rest of the necessary yardage.
Pat Young broke through and blocked a McCarthy punt early in the fourth quarter to set up the third Harvard score. Bartolet passed to Taylor on the sideline on the first play and Taylor, showing terrific perseverance, fought off five tacklers as he spun and twisted 21 yards for the goal line.
It almost looked as if Harvard might yet win, but the hope soon died. McCarthy, Hennessey and fullback Hank Cutting contented themselves with a slow, grinding march down the field that exhausted the clock and the Harvard team. Harshbarger prevented another Crusader score by intercepting a McCarthy pass in the end zone, but the war was already lost.
With the possible exception of Princeton, Holy Cross is the best team Harvard will battle this season. Despite the loss, Harvard showed traces of brilliance against its classy opponents