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The schedule of the University football team has proved much easier in practice than on paper. It at first looked as though the eleven was to face unusually strong opponents; but until the Princeton game, none was able to hold the University to anything approaching a close score. The result has been that the team appeared much more powerful than it really was until in Princeton it faced a truly worthy opponent. Against the Tigers, Harvard was forced to its utmost, and was even outplayed at certain periods.
In the first six games, 170 points were scored as against 16 by opponents; Williams made a field goal, while Holy Cross gained a touchdown on a muffed punt, and Cornell another by straight plunging against a wholly substitute eleven. The totals to date, including the Princeton and Brown games are: Harvard, 210; opponents, 16. The eleven, by recording a greater number of points than all but one other Eastern aggregation, has thereby worked up a reputation for being a great scoring machine. The contrast with Yale is striking, the totals in her case being: Yale, 121; opponents, 19. Further statistical examination is even more in Harvard's favor, Yale having been held to tie scores three times,--twice by elevens of very minor importance--and has met one decisive 16 to 6 defeat, at the hands of Colgate. Equally striking, however, has been Yale's rapid late season progress, terminating in her 3 to 3 score against Princeton, in a contest in which she is generally admitted to have completely outplayed her opponents. Against this brilliant showing, Harvard has to offer only a rather doubtful exhibition against the Tigers; and a 37 to 0 victory over Brown, which, though by twice as large a margin as that won by Yale, can hardly be taken as an adequate basis for comparison.
Progress During the Season.
In the very opening game, by defeating Maine 34 to 0, the University eleven showed itself one of unusual power. The weakness of Maine, however, made the team seem much better than it really was, many ragged ends being brought to light in the contest of the following week with Bates. There was no force behind the charging of the rush line, which the lighter but scrappy Bates forwards held to equal terms, and a 14 to 0 score brought home to the coaches the realization that there was much to be done. Nor did the team show much improvement against Williams, for it was not until the final period that the team gathered enough energy to crumple the opposing defense and win a victory.
In the three succeeding games, however, with Holy Cross, Penn. State, and Cornell, there was marked progress. Against Holy Cross, the line came through with an exhibition of grit and fight such as it has not shown since; and in the Penn. State and Cornell games, the interference, good from the beginning, seemed to have almost reached perfection.
Then came the Princeton contest, in which the line seemed to have lost all the ground that it had won, and in which victory was registered only through the scant margin of one drop-kick. The Princeton attack punctured the forwards so frequently that it was only the wonderful work of the secondary defense, and of Bradlee in particular, that staved off dangerous gains. Not until the team was almost in the shadow of its own goal did the line show determination enough to hold the Tigers to even terms.
It was this game which resulted in the seemingly radical shift which had its first tryout against Brown. The showing was, however, rather inconclusive, and the eleven did not give the impression of playing as a successfully rejuvenated team should; the substitutes, who had been considered unduly weak since the touchdown scored upon them by Cornell, seemed to play almost as well as the regulars. The regular line still lacked the punch which it was hoped they would exhibit after the lesson taught by Princeton, and which will be imperatively necessary if a victory is to be scored against Yale today.
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