The mighty Quakers have fallen. The question which this week concerns the Harvard football team is who will they take down with them.
After a five-year strangle-hold on the Ivy League title, Penn has returned to earth this season with a disappointing 3-5 mark (2-3 Ivy). The Quakers started off the season on the wrong foot with an opening day loss to Cornell, and have never really recovered. Last season's 10-0 mark--the culmination of Penn's half-decade championship run--seems very far removed indeed.
But Penn can still come up with an excellent performance, as Brown discovered a month ago when the Quakers handed the Bruins their first Ivy loss of the season. 38-17.
For Harvard, this is a near-must-win game (1 p.m. kickoff, WHRB 95.3 FM, PBS). The Crimson is currently tied with Yale atop the Anceint Eight at 4-1. Three teams, Princeton, Brown and Cornell, lurk a game back at 3-2.
If Harvard and Yale (which is at Princeton) both win today, The Game in New Haven next weekend will be a winner-take-all title match. If Harvard wins today and Yale loses, the Crimson will be guaranteed at least a share of the Ivy crown, and could win it outright with a win over the Elis.
But a Harvard loss to the Quakers is much more problematic, making an outright title nearly impossible and a shared title far from a certainty. Harvard last shared the Ivy title in 1983 (with Penn), and won its only outright title in 1975.
The Quakers are led by the miraculous Chris Flynn, who made first team All-Ivy last year as a non-starter. Flynn has had a good but not great campaign in 1987, rushing for 511 yards and catching passes for 101 more.
Complementing Flynn in the Quaker backfield--which averages over 200 yards a game on the ground--are Bryan Keys (486 yards rushing), Jim Bruni (288) and Mike Waller (272). The Penn passing attack is more shaky, with part-time starters John Keller and Malcolm Glover combining for less than 100 yards per game through the air. The Quaker QBs have thrown 14 interceptions and only four TDs.
The fact that Penn can run but not throw is good news for the Crimson defense, which has shut down the run very effectively this year, but had trouble against the aerial attack.
And Harvard's pass defense will be without safety Bryan Gescuk, who tore up his knee last week at Holy Cross. Back-up sophomore Jim Smith did play exceptionally well in Gescuk's place, picking off two passes.
Meanwhile, the Harvard offense should have the services of leading running back Tony Hinz, who missed the Crusader game with a shoulder injury. Wingback Bob Glatz, who also suffered a knee injury in Worcester, is listed as questionable and probably will not play.
Crimson QB Tom Yohe, who already has broken a half-dozen school records this year, will once again be the key to the Harvard offense. Yohe, a junior, suffered a tough day against Holy Cross--he was forced to air it out a record 52 times--but nonetheless his season totals (132-for-266, 1820 yards, 15 TDs) are mighty impressive.
Wide-out Brian Barringer, Harvard's leading receiver all season, snagged 11 passes last weekend and is now in striking distance of the single-season receptions record, held by Pat McInally '75. Tight end Kent Lucas will be another key target.