HANOVER, N.H.--Try to picture President Bok exhorting the Crimson to "blow" the opposing team "off the field," and to "reduce" the visiting eleven "to sub-atomic particles." Somehow, it would seem incongruous.
But those were the precise words of Dartmouth president John G. Kemeny addressing 10,000 at a pep rally Friday night. Kemeny, appropriately enough, chaired the commission appointed to investigate Three Mile Island.
Kemeny set the tone for the weekend, one of not-so-sublimated violence. Off the field, the members of this heavily wooded campus displayed a pathological zeal. Fights erupted at almost all of the 22 frats Friday night, and the attitude toward the enemy was one of open hostility. Even alumni--slightly more civil and slightly more drunk--made clear their desire to "flush the Johns," as signs all over the campus cleverly stated.
The Dartmouth football locker room featured a quote from a former Big Green gridder--"Harvard is Harvard. We did it and we did it to them"--which undoubtedly held some profound significance.
The school was celebrating its Ivy League centennial and its homecoming weekend, and the odds were stacked against the Crimson from the start. With first-string quarterback Brian Buckley sidelined by knee problems and running backs Jim Callinan and Paul Scheper out with injuries, Harvard did not figure to chalk up an easy win against preseason Ivy favorite Dartmouth, especially in the Big Green's belligerent backyard.
Crimson coach Joe Restic had warned of Dartmouth's offensive prowess since the beginning of the year, and the Big Green had struggled through three straight mistake-ridden contests. The Crimson had sailed through four games without falling behind once, and experienced its share of good breaks. Dartmouth was due to explode, and Harvard was due for one of those long, gray days.
But the green-clad fans, inebriated in the pre-game hysteria, blanched when Crimson linebacker fell on a Jeff Dufresne fumble on the third play from scrimmage. The Harvard offense, however, failed to get past the Dartmouth 30-yd. line on a fourth-and-one crack into the line, and from then forward, the Big Green assumed control.
The partisans must have been delighted when Crimson quarterback Mike Buchanan went down with an ankle injury 20 minutes into the game, and they must have positively relished Harvard's game of musical quarterbacks.
Late in the third quarter, Ron Cuccia left the game with a hamstring pull after guiding the Crimson to its only touchdown. Buchanan returned for one play, a 13-yd. option run on which he reinjured his ankle. Mark Marion, who replaced Buchanan in the first half, returned--deprived of his most dangerous weapon, Cuccia. Don Allard came into the game to hold for Dave Cody's 35-yd. field goal, which brought the score to 27-12, the closest the Crimson got.
While the Crimson lived this nightmare, Dartmouth took charge. Big Green quarterback Jeff Kemp smoothly engineered the offense, helped in large part by spectacular catches. In the first half, he completed a pair of picture touchdown passes to flanker Shaun Teevens, younger brother of 1978 Ivy MVP Buddy Teevens, who quartbacked Dartmouth to the league title.
But the day belonged to Dartmouth's co-captains, split end Dave Shula and linebacker Jerry Pierce. Shula gathered in eight passes for more than 100 yds., many with double or triple coverage in crucial situations. Pierce made five unassisted tackes and helped on 13 others.
By contrast, the depleted Crimson forces lost a key dimension when Cuccia left the game. For a while, the sophomore looked poised to taint the green party. He directed a drive that ranked with the Crimson's best this fall.
But despite defensive tenacity that kept the Big Green to four first downs in the second half and repeatedly provided Harvard with strong field position, the offense could not get untracked. Marion was forced to heave Hail Marys that landed in Dartmouth paws four times in the final quarter.
So the Crimson will regroup this week, safe in the notion that the game did not prove as much of a runaway as it might have, given the injuries and the bad breaks. As for the Dartmouth partisans, who filed out of Memorial Field taunting, they will wake up this morning with a Hanover hangover, sate in the misguided notion that the victory vindicates the fact that they go (or went) to Dartmouth.