Six weeks ago, Princeton got bombed by Rutgers, 29-0, and Harvard looked impressive in a 13-0 shutout of Holy Cross. And a week after the Tigers edged Columbia, 21-14, Harvard, playing without Gary Farneti, routed Columbia, 51-0. But those events were easily forgotten Saturday.
Princeton, displaying an incredibly powerful offense and a surprisingly stingy defense, ran up a 31-0 lead in 27 minutes and then coasted to a 51-20 win over the Crimson to remain undefeated in the Ivy League.
While Tricia Nixon, Ted Kennedy 56, and 30,000 others watched, the Tigers marched right over and through the highly respected Crimson defense to score the first four times they had the ball.
Though Harvard expected to have trouble with the Princeton offense, it did not expect to have 31 points scored before the game was half over. "Wejust couldn't believe it was happening," said linebacker Gary Farneti, who made eight tackles and assisted on two others to lead both teams in that department.
"MacBean was a hell of a quarterback as far as brainwork goes," he added. The Princeton quarterback, playing that position this season for the first time in four years, combined an ability to run, pass, and think to lead a virtually unstoppable offense.
He read the Crimson defense almost to perfection, calling audibles at the line and exploiting every little weakness. He used the triple option around the ends, then sent fullback Ellis Moore up the middle for big gains, Other times, he passed with accuracy to wide-open receivers to gain 148 yards in the air.
Where It All Began
It all started when Princeton won the toss of the coin. On the first drive. MacBean, Moore, and Brian MeCullough methodically ran for yard after yard before Moore, who had scored a record five touchdowns, here two years ago, ran six yards-for the first points of the day. Arnie Hother kicked the first of six conversion points.
Harvard gained exactly zero yards on its first three plays, and then Princeton began its second successful drive, which churned out 65 yards in only four plays. The big play was a pass to Chris Montgomery, who was open by ten yards for a gain of 43 yards. Then Moore scored again.
Harvard punted on third down next time. The following Tiger march was again highlighted by an easy gain on a pass. MacBean threw to Mark Biros for a pickup of 32 yards. The Crimson defense stiffened near its own ten-yard line, though, and Princeton had to settle for a Holtberg field goal. It was almost encouraging for Harvard fans.
But the next Crimson drive lasted one play when quarterback Dave Smith's fumble was recovered by Steve Sikora of Princeton only 21 yards away from the Harvard end zone. A moment later, Moore scored his third, and last, touchdown of the day, "He needed to have a day like this," coach Jake McCandless said afterwards.
The Harvard fans came to their feet three minutes later when fullback Tom Miller made the initial Crimson first down of the afternoon. The Crimson actually controlled the ball for seven plays before Peter Lips intercepted a pass by Ray Hornblower, who had the misfortune to gain minus seven yards in seven caries Saturday.
The Crimson defense held this time, and Princeton bad to wait until its next series of plays to score again. The crucial incident on that successful drive was a take punt, a trick the Tigers used last week against Brown. Moore threw to Pete Hauck for a first down at the Harvard five.
"That fake punt really-caught us off-guard." Farneti said. "We had ten men on the line, hoping to block the kick. I kept expecting to hear the sound of the ball getting kicked, and then all of a sudden they'd completed a pass," he explained. Farneti made the tackle, and Harvard hied well for three plays before MacBean leaped over the goal line from a foot out.
Harvard dominated the final three minutes of the half. Harrison gained 27 yards on five carries, and Smith threw a pass complete to Pete Varney, before Bruce Freeman caught a perfect throw by Smith over two defenders in the end zone for the first Crimson touchdown.
The third quarter was uneventful except for Princeton's fifth touchdown on a 38-yard drive. The Tigers, were almost stopped as the Harvard line held three times on the one-yard line. But then Doug Blake got into the end zone on fourth down.
Crimson quarterback Joe Roda and the second string came in later to beef up team statistics against Princeton's second defense, and the team moved well enough to score two touchdowns, though one came after a questionable interference call on safety Jeff Davis.