It was a game between the two oldest colleges in the country, but it defied one of the oldest precepts of college football. Despite five interceptions and a fumble inside their opponents' 10-yd. line, the Crimson gridders rolled over William and Mary at Harvard Stadium Saturday, 24-13.
Harvard coach Joe Restic said after the game he could not recall surrendering six turnovers in a game and winning. And the gridders did not just win this contest, they dominated it. Yet, despite a 21-0 half-time lead, Harvard (6-2, 3-2 Ivy) could not put it away.
Magic to Do
For ten magical minutes in the second quarter, the Multiflex offense lived up to its computer printouts. Harvard quarterback Brian Buckley engineered a nine-play, 80-yd. drive capped off by a picture-perfect 29-yd. touchdown pass to tight end Bill McGlone to give the Crimson a 14-0 edge.
The gridders used a set they'd never run before on the McGlone touchdown, and it completely baffled an already overwrought William and Mary defense. The coverage broke down, and McGlone gathered in Buckley's pass and rambled into the endzone, untouched.
After two William and Mary possessions failed to mount a threat, the Crimson offense took over again at the Harvard 40 with 41 seconds to go in the first half. Buckley proceeded to direct one of the gridders' more impressive drives of the season, taking the Crimson 61 yards in five plays and 30 seconds.
A quick flareout to fullback Jim Callinan, who caught six passes for 54 yards on the day, churned up 22 yards. Buckley then heaved a bullet to tight end Chuck Marshall for 13 yards over the middle, then repeated the connection two plays later for another 14 yards. Finally, with 11 seconds to go, the senior quarterback went to Callinan again for a 10-yd. scoring strike that left the visitors befuddled and in the unenviable position of trailing by three touchdowns at half-time.
The Crimson gridders trucked off the field bathed in euphoria, confident they had sealed their sixth victory in eight outings and further buoyed by news from New Haven, where Cornell had built a comfortable edge against league-leading Yale.
Restic said he figured that if the Crimson could establish field position in the second half, he could give some of his starters a rest and give their backups valuable playing time in the non-Ivy encounter. As it turned out, the Crimson performed in a generally lackluster manner, and Restic was disappointed.
Two interceptions on successive possessions pinned the Crimson deep in its own territory, and despite the Harvard defense's usual agressiveness, William and Mary eventually capitalized. Tailback Tony Franco pranced in from the 4-yd. mark to climax a 28-yd. drive. Laszlo Mike-Mayer, younger brother of NFL placekickers, Nick and Steve, converted to bring the score to 21-7.
Throughout the game, the Crimson defense stacked up the William and Mary ground attack, forcing quarterback Chris Garrity to put the ball in the air. A third of the way into the final quarter, he clicked with lanky split end Ed Scheifelbein for a 65-yd. touchdown bomb. Louis Varsames blocked Mike-Mayer's point after to secure Harvard's margin at eight, 21-13.
Garrity continued to move the William and Mary offense in the game's latter stages, but Crimson linebacker Mark Layden stifled the comeback effort with an athletic interception near midfield and the Crimson went 43 yds. before Dave Cody's 30-yd. field goal clinched the win, Harvard's third in three non-league encounters.
The Crimson's first touchdown came after a 12-play, 60-yd. drive when halfback Tom Beatrice, who gained a career high 92 yds. on 23 carries, roamed untouched into the endzone. While Buckley's second-quarter aerial acrobatics garnered much of the attention, and the Crimson's running game proved the key link in Harvard's attack. Paul Connors, who fumbled twice in one third-quarter drive, losing the second after he had broken through for eight yds. to the William and Mary five, scampered for 68 yds. in 15 rushes. Callinan bruised the visitors' defense, trundling 46 yds. in only six attempts, almost all in the second half.
Buckley's five interceptions marred an otherwise strong performance. His three-week layoff due to a knee injury hurt his precision, and he tossed a couple of errant passes deep in the Crimson end that could have cost Harvard the game had the William and Mary offense not resembled an Edsel. It is hard to believe after witnessing Saturday's game that W & M actually beat Rutgers--which lost a tight game to powerful Alabama and crushed Princeton and Cornell.
THE NOTEBOOK: William and Mary players returned to their locker room to find their wallets, watches and jewelry missing. University police are still investigating the theft.