Crimson Drops Tense League Opener By 14-12 in Tight Game at Cornell
ITHACA, N.Y., Oct. 6--It's pretty dressing to travel 350 miles and lose. specially if the game happens to be Ivy opener and you're rated one of top teams in the League.
It happened to Cornell in Cambridge year ago, and today the Big Red reached the favor. Harvard lost a tough game, 14 to 12, and felt its chances for Ivy title slipping away.
By all accounts, today's contest must have been one of the biggest heart-breakers the Crimson has ever experienced. Three times Cornell had first down inside the Harvard five, and three times the Crimson wall went up on the goal line. The Big Red tried to plow though the middle, but each time the young Crimson line held fast. Twice the Ithacans cans had to give up right on the line, and the third time the Crimson Frank Ulcickas forced Cornell's quarterback to take a four-yard loss, back to the five.
As if the dramatic goal line stands weren't enough, the way things happened in the last minutes of the game it seemed Crimson was fated to win.
With a minute and a half showing, Cornell held the ball at third down on their own 31. The score was 14-12. Quarterback Gary Wood took the snap faded back to pass. A Crimson lineman hit him, but as Wood was falling leaved the pigskin to his halfback Lampkins who tore downfield for yards.
It would have been all over for Harvard at that point, but one of the referees announced that Wood's knees had hit floor before the hand-off. Cornell took a loss, and punted.
Harvard's sophomore Tom Bilodeau returned the Big Red kick to the Crimson 33, about a minute remaining. Three completed passes and two running plays moved the Crimson to the Cornell 25.
The clock revealed two seconds remaining when the Crimson came out of the huddle. Mike Bassett began calling when suddenly Cornell captain Tony Turel plowed into Crimson center Joe Minotti. Turel had hoped to rough up the play just as time was expiring, and thereby avoid a penalty.
Play was stopped, and hundreds of screaming Cornell fans poured onto the field. Two Cornell players who were on the field took off for the dressing rooms. Finally the commotion subsided and the message came through: Turel had beaten the final whistle. Five yard penalty for offsides. Still time for one play.
The penalty moved the ball to Cornell's 20, a couple of yards off center. John Yovicsin ordered a field goal (three points) attempt and sent in Fred Bartl to do the kicking. Everything was set for the storybook finish.
Bartl's kick went off beautifully and a roar came up from both sides of the stadium. But this time the call went against Harvard: Bartl's kick had missed by about six inches, the officials declared.
When the game was all over--and no one on our side could believe we'd lost--it was the extra points after the touch-downs that had made the difference. Cornell's kicking specialist, Hungarian refugee Pete Gogolak, had made good both times. Lacking a reliable kicker, the Crimson had had to play to its running strength and try for the two-pointers. As he watched both ground plays fail, Yovicsin must have been thinking of Dave Ward, the Crimson's kicker last year who went 19 for 19 a season ago.
There were two other reasons why the Crimson didn't win at Schoellkopf Field today: Gary Wood and Jim Lampkins. Quarterback Wood, mainly, hurled 8 out of 12 passes for 116 yds. In the opening series of plays, Wood and halfback Lampkins took turns barreling through a faltering Crimson line. In 5 minutes and 9 plays, The Big Red had marched 49 yds. to go ahead 6 to 0. Lampkins carried for the first score, and he caught Wood's bullet for a touchdown in the second quarter. He closed out the game with a rushing total of 80 yds, twice as much as any of Harvard's backs.
The Crimson's attack was predictably one-sided: Bassett attempted only two passes in the first half, both incomplete. In the second half, the Crimson attempted eight more, completing four three in the last two minutes. Of those three last-ditchers, Bassett threw only one; Bilodeau and Bill Taylor had one each.
The Crimson rushed 211 yds, 34 more that their hosts, and scored both touch-downs on the ground.
The first came at 11:14 of the first quarter. Bassett, Taylor, Bartl, and Bill Grana marched 70 yds in 12 plays, Grana heading over right tackle for the tally.
Trailing 14-6 in the third quarter, the Crimson got a break. Cornell fumbled on its 30, and Crimson captain Dick Diehl pounced on the ball. Six downs later, Bassett squeezed over the goal-line.