Junior running back Rufus Jones, who tore ligaments in his left knee two weeks ago against Cornell, said last night that he will wait at least until tomorrow to make a decision on when he could return to the Harvard lineup.
Jones, the Crimson's third leading rusher with 148 yards and its second leading pass receiver with seven catches, yesterday learned through arthroscopic surgery that he suffered both torn and strained ligaments.
The Memphis, Tenn. native said he possibly could return as soon as next weekend's Brown game, but that if he did so there would be a 50-50 chance for permanent damage to the knee.
His other option is major reconstructive surgery that would put his leg in a cast for six weeks, render him to crutches for six months and to rehabilitation for an entire year.
Jones, who said no decision has been made yet, said he will meet tomorrow with Dr. Arthur Boland, the team's head orthopedic surgeon.
"I really want to play ball," said Jones, "but I've got to do what's best for Rufus."
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Despite all the talk of Harvard's vaunted defensive secondary, consider that through five games one year ago the Crimson's air traffic controllers had allowed just 589 yards passing.
Through five this year, the foursome of Frank Ciota, Cecil Cox, Lee Oldenburg and Ken Tarczy has allowed 895 yards through the air.
And though the quartet many consider the squad's finest group has picked off twice as many passes as it had at this point a year ago--and just two less than it did all of last year--it could be in for its biggest test of the year this weekend.
That's because senior Doug Butler, the all-time leading everything in Princeton history and the all-time leading passer in Ivy history, will tote his aerial show into town this weekend.
The talented Tiger, who last weekend threw for 438 yards, has completed 80 of 143 passes this season for 911 yards. In his career, Butler has thrown for 6265 yards and 40 touchdowns.
In comparison, Harvard signal caller Brian White has tossed for 1675 yards and 12 touchdowns in his career.
If there's a question about Butler, it's that in 126 career rushes he's lost 153 yards.
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From this week's trivia file comes this question: Butler might be the best Princeton player in recent history, but he'll never win the Heisman Trophy. Only one Ivy player has ever done that--and he played for Princeton. Name him. Answer below.
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Figure this one out: of the 29 Ivy football titles since formal league play began in 1956, Harvard has won or shared seven of them.
In 17 of the other 22 seasons, the team or teams that have won or shared the title have beaten Harvard.
What that means is that you've got to beat Harvard to win the league crown.
But if you follow that logic, don't you also have to beat Columbia?
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Speaking of Columbia, the Lions--winners of just five of their last 68 games--haven't improved much since first-year Coach Jim Garrett went on a rampage after Harvard shellacked his squad, 49-14, in the season opener.
In four games since, the Lions have scored a total of 26 points and just three touchdowns.
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Elsewhere around the league, Penn travels to Yale this weekend for one of the biggest Ivy games in years.
Yale (2-0 Ivy) hasn't lost at home in eight games and Penn (3-0 Ivy) hasn't lost an Ivy contest since late 1983. Since then, it's won 10 straight league contests.
In other games, Dartmouth will meet Cornell in a battle of winless teams, Brown will travel to Holy Cross and Bucknell will look to extend Columbia's losing streak to 16.
By the way, the five Ivy teams aside from Harvard, Penn and Yale have a combined overall record this year of 5-20 for a winning mark of .200.
And one year after Columbia, Cornell and Dartmouth all started 0-5, they're all 0-5 again.
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Answer to this week's trivia quiz: halfback Dick Kazmaier won the Heisman in 1951.
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In its previous 111 seasons, Harvard has twice won its first two games of the season, lost its third and then won its fourth and fifth--just as it has this season.
And both times it went on to lose its sixth game. The last time, in 1953, Harvard dropped a 6-0 loss to Princeton.
The other time, 1928, the Crimson also suffered a shutout--this one a 7-0 loss at the hands of Penn.
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Harvard (4-1 overall, 3-0 Ivy) is off to its best overall start since 1980. Before that, the Crimson last enjoyed 4-1 starts in each of the 1973, 1974, 1975 and 1976 seasons.
A Crimson victory this weekend would ensure Harvard of its best start since 1976.
In Ivy action, the Crimson would need to win its next two games to tie the best Ivy start by a Joe Restic-coached Harvard team. Last year's Harvard squad, which won its first five and then lost its last two Ancient Eight contests, and the 1974 Crimson squad that shared the league crown both began 5-0.
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Kickoff for Saturday's Harvard-Princeton showdown is 1:30 p.m. Interestingly, the Tigers--who hold a 42-28-7 advantage in the series--are one of only two 1985 opponents who hold an all-time edge on Harvard. Yale is the other.
The series opened in 1876 with a 1-0 Crimson shuout, but the Tigers returned the favor the following year, recording a 1-0 shutout.
Harvard has taken the past three games from the Tigers and has a four-game unbeaten string against Princeton. The longest Crimson winning streak is five games and the longest unbeaten streak is seven games.
In the past 10 games between these two clubs, the average point differential has been 4.5 points. Harvard, which won each of the last two games of the series by two points, is 4-4-2 against Princeton in that period.
Against the Tigers, Harvard Coach Joe Restic is 6-6-2 overall, but just 2-4-1 in the Stadium.
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Checking the record books, White needs just 125 yards to become the fifth leading passer in Harvard history.
He needs 422 to climb all the way to number three. By the way, Restic has coached the top six passers in Harvard history.
Meanwhile, senior fullback Robert Santiago needs 385 rushing yards to become the fifth leading rusher in Harvard history. He needs 358 yards to become the second player in Crimson history to crack the top 10 single season rushing list twice. And he needs 435 yards rushing and receiving to hit the number-five spot on the all-time career total offense list.
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THE NOTEBOOK'S NOTEBOOK: Sophomore split end Lamont Greer caught a touchdown toss from White on the next-to-last-play of the first half Saturday against Dartmouth. But a penalty on Harvard nullified the catch and took away the first touchdown caught by a Harvard wide out in more than three seasons...Butler's 6265 career passing yards would make him the all-time leading passer in Harvard history--by more than 3500 yards...Harvard has scored 87 of its 110 points in the second half of its games this year...Joe Pusateri scored his first touchdown in a Crimson uniform last weekend. He also rushed for a career-high 65 yards...Harvard held Dartmouth to negative eight yards rushing in the second half Saturday...Senior K.C. Smith made the ECAC Honor Roll and was named Co-Ivy Player of the Week yesterday for his three-sack, nine-tackle game against the Big Green...Harvard's 292 yards rushing last weekend was a season-high.