It is late in the season, but it appears that the Brown football team is finally getting untracked. Riding the crest of a two-game Ivy League winning streak, the Bruins invade Soldiers' Field today at 1:20 p.m. looking to upset Harvard's championship express.
"They are a very solid ballclub," Crimson coach Joe Restic said yesterday. "I just hope that they don't break loose against us again. It may be another one of those wild ones."
Last year's "wild one" saw Pat McInally and quarterback Jimmy Stoeckel rewrite a substantial portion of the Harvard record book, as they paired up on 13 pass completions for 178 yards and two touch-downs, sending Harvard to an explosive 35-32 victory.
In the last few weeks, however, it has been the Brown defense that has been winning ballgames, having allowed just 28 points to be scored against it in the last three games. The Bruins now stand second in the nation in defense against the rush.
The question mark in today's contest will be what adjustments Brown makes to handle Harvard's prolific air attack. "Though they are nationally ranked in stopping the run, they are unranked in total defense," Restic said. "There must be some weaknesses somewhere."
A revived Bruin offense will take the field today, spearheaded by its improving senior quarterback Pete Beatrice. "Pete is winding up his career in grand style," Brown coach John Anderson said. "He's playing with renewed confidence."
Beatrice has hit on 54 of 101 passing attempts this season for 715 yards and 3 touchdowns, having become the regular quarterback just two games ago. Brown previously went on a two quarterback system, with Dennis Coleman splitting the signal-calling chores with Beatrice.
"Since Beatrice took over, they have been moving the ball," Restic said. "He is a good scrambler, and runs and throws very well. We'll have to pin him inside to take away that advantage."
Coleman has been moved to flanker recently, adding a new dimension to the attack. "They will probably try to run some plays in which Coleman will take a handoff or a pitchout and then throw the ball," Restic said. "They shouldn't catch us by surprise, though."
The Bruin running attack has' been buoyed by the play of halfback Kevin Slattery, who has picked up 305 yards in 72 carries so far. The backfield is balanced by the good running of fullback Bob McNamara and right halfback Mike Sokolowski.
"Our defense will have its hands full," Restic said. "They are balanced, and they are developing rapidly now."
With the return of fullback Neal Miller and tight end Peter Curtin to the lineup, Harvard has achieved the "total flexibility" which coach Restic depends upon. "Since the Dartmouth game, we have been able to do anything on offense. We expected to rely on the passing game to beat Penn, but wound up with some 300 yards rushing instead."
Heat's on Holt
Once again Harvard will be looking to quarterback Milt Holt to put the diversified offense in motion. "Milt will have to have another fine day against Brown, because we may have to go to the air frequently," Restic said.