Harvard's football team meets unbeaten Princeton in the Stadium at 1:30 p.m. today, and for the first time in at least five years the Crimson will be going into a game without the remotest chance of winning it.
Princeton has a powerhouse, every bit as good as their unbeaten team of 1964. The Tigers have won 15 games in a row. They are the highest--scoring football team in America, with 222 points in six games and a scoring average of 57.
With the possible exception of Syracuse, Princeton is the best team in the East. They haven't had a close call all year. On October 16, Princeton scored a 27-0 win over Colgate, which hadn't yielded a touchdown in its previous four games. They amassed four touchdowns against Cornell's excellent defense and won, 36 to 27. The Tigers scored a 51-0 rout over Penn, a team which tied Harvard 10-10.
Surprisingly, before the season began, Princeton fans were not deliriously optimistic about their team's prospects for 1965. All-American fullback Cosmo Iacavazzi had graduated, as had star tailback Don McKay. But Princeton had gone unbeaten in 1964 more because of their excellent defense than the running of Iacavazzi and the passing of McKay. The Tigers had given up only eight touchdowns all season long, and most of their fine defensive line was returning. Guard Stas Maliszewski (215) had won All-American recognition in 1964, and guard Paul Savidge was All-East.
But to everyone's amazement, the Tigers' strong point this season has been their offense, and the key to their offensive success has been tailback Ron Landeck. A defensive specialist for two years. Landeck this season has run for 613 yards, scored six touchdowns, and passed for 679 yards. He has thrown eleven touchdown passes--all in Ivy play--setting a new League record with three games to go.
And then there's Charley Gogolak, probably the most publicized football player in the country. The Hungarian-born soccer-style kicker has broken just about every national field goal kicking record. He has booted 15 this year (in 19 attempts) and has kicked 42 consecutive extra points from if the Princeton backfield were comprised of four basket cases, the Tigers would still have an effective offense with Gogolak.
A large part of Princeton's perennial success in the Ivy League is due to the anachronistic single wing offense which Coach Dick Colman employs. In the single wing, the ball is snapped to one of two backs who are stationed about four yards behind the line of scrimmage. The attack depends more on sheer power than on finesse and deception. Its great advantage for Princeton, though, lies not in any inherent advantage of the single wing over the T-formation, Since nobody uses the single wing any more, rival coaches find it difficult to prepare the teams in one week of practice to cope with the Tigers' attack.
It is difficult to conceive of any way, short of divine intervention, that the Crimson can spring an upset. For Harvard fans the only conceivable source of optimism is the excellent job which Coach John Yovicoin and line coach Jim Lentz do every year in preparing the Crimson to face Princeton's single wing. For three straight years, Princeton has come into the Harvard game unbeaten--and lost two of those three meetings. Over the last seven years, the Crimson has yielded only seven touchdowns against the Tigers, and has won four games in that span.
Harvard's defense has gives up only 40 points all year, one of the best defensive records in the country. So at least the Crimson should be able to prevent Princeton from rolling up an embarrassingly large score.
But the Crimson has not yet shown any ability to move the ball with consistency. Despite the defense's excellence. Harvard has suffered through three straight games without a victory. With star halfback Bobby Leo sidelined with a hamstring pull, the offensive woes will be aggravated today.
Princeton is not unbeatable. A week ago- last-place Brown lost to the Tigers, 45 to 27, but Bruin quarterback Bob Hall threw four touchdown passes in that contest. Hall called innumerable down-and-out passes in the defensive zone of cornerback Hayward Gipson, apparently the weak link on Princeton's defense. But Harvard, sadly, does not have a passing attack which can put much pressure on the Tiger defense. Even though quarterback John McCluskey's passing is improving a great deal, Harvard apparently lacks any receiver who can catch the ball.
A Shut Out
Without a good serial attack and without the ability to run through Princeton's rugged defensive line, Harvard will probably be shut out. If Charley Gogolak had a broken leg, one could pray for a scoreless lie. But he's healthy, unfortunately, so the only question surrounding today's game seems to be how much Princeton can roll up the score. Our guess is that two touchdown passes by Landeck and three field goals by Gogolak will give Princeton a 23-0 victory.