In Defense of the Best Offense

The Football Notebook

The best offense is not always the best offense.

The Harvard football team leads the Ivy League in yards gained per game, grounding out 386.2 yards every Saturday, yet the squad has won only two of its nine games.

Who's second in total offense? Undefeated Penn, of course.

The Quakers, who clinched a share of the Ivy title with their 52-13 win over Harvard Saturday, average 380 yards a game.

Harvard's problem has not been moving the ball, but avoiding turnovers. When Dartmouth defeated the Crimson, 38-7, last month, Harvard gained 399 yards of total offense, but lost the ball six times--three interceptions and three fumbles.

The Crimson has coughed up the ball 30 times (14 interceptions and 16 fumbles lost) this year. In addition to the 16 fumbles lost, Harvard has also recovered 14 of its own fumbles.

Although junior quarterback Tim Perry did not throw an interception Saturday, the Crimson did drop the ball eight times, losing three of them.

Record-Breakers: Junior running back David Haller set his first record at Harvard, but it may not have been the kind he will treasure.

Haller set a new kickoff record when he retrurned nine kickoffs for 162 yards Saturday, breaking Jerry Blitz's record of seven returns in one game against Princeton in 1952.

Blitz still holds the record for most kickoff return yardage. He ran for 241 yards on that day against the Tigers, when Harvard lost, 41-21.

Captain Don Peterson may be happier with the record he set. Peterson now holds Harvard's single-season sack record with 11, snapping the mark set by 1987 Captain Kevin Dulsky.

He's My Man: Penn Coach Ed Zubrow knows who he will vote for as Ivy League Player of the Year.

"Bryan Keys should be Ivy League Player of the Year. We've won the Ivy League title, and he's had a great year," Zubrow said after Saturday's game. "He's an outstanding back and he deserves it."

Keys, a junior, ran for 178 yards and three touchdowns against the Crimson. He now has 1074 yards and 14 touchdowns this year.

Thirtysomething: When running back Tony Hinz, out the last two weeks with a broken bone in his hand, came back to catch six passes for 54 yards last weekend, he became the third Harvard player to catch more than 30 passes this year.

Hinz (35 receptions, 497 yards) joined tight end Don Gajewski (37 receptions for 477 yards) and wideout Neil Phillips (33 receptions for 576 yards). It is the first time in Harvard history that more than two players on the same team have hauled in 30 passes.

Although the receivers have impressive numbers, Harvard had trouble getting the ball to them last weekend. Perry, in his first start, completed 11 of 28 passes for 100 yards, but only three (for 15 yards) were completed to non-running backs.

Gajewski caught only one pass for three yards, while Phillips, a co-captain on the basketball team, was shut out. Harvard has had problems getting the ball to Phillips since quarterback Tom Yohe went out with a leg injury against Brown. Phillips has caught only two passes for seven yards the last two weeks.

Phillips' basketball buddy, Kevin Collins, caught the first two passes of his career for 12 yards against Penn.

Two Bagels, Please: Whenever the Penn band plays "Drink a Highball," one of the Quakers' school songs, it has become a tradition for Franklin Field fans to throw toast on the field in response to the last line of the song, "Here's a toast to dear old Penn."

Last year, however, the administration outlawed the ceremony, and said toast could not be brought into the stadium after the new track, which encircles the football field, was completed.

"They called it a hazard to the track," said Jon Wilner, Sports Editor for The Daily Pennsylvanian. "People started taping toast to their bodies, so the administration finally changed its policy. They said the toast was okay, but no bagels were to be allowed."

Students decorated the track with an estimated 12,000 pieces of toast last weekend.