Referee, E. J. O'Brien, Tufts. Umpire, W. S. Cannell, Tufts. Head linesman, G. N. Bankhart, Dartmouth. Field judge, E. E. Allen, Boston.
The University football team will meet one of the most crucial tests of its 1921 season when at 3 o'clock today in the Stadium it faces Coach Cleo O'Donnell's strong and speedy Holy Cross eleven, which will try for the second successive year to break the "no-defeat" record that the Crimson has been able to boast since Coach Fisher took charge. Last fall the Purple players held the Crimson to a three-point victory and at one time had possession of the ball under the shadow of the University goal-posts. The contest this afternoon promises to be just as close, especially when it is taken into consideration that all but one of the Holy Cross players starting the game took part in last fall's Stadium thriller.
Except for Case, the 231 pound Holy Cross guard, the University players will outweigh their opponents to a man. For this reason the Purple rooters are basing their hopes for victory on a speedy, elusive group of rushers and a fast, aggressive line charge. The Holy Cross line averages from tackle to tackle only 185 pounds, but every man on it is quick, quicker probably than the average Crimson forward. Healy, for instance tips the scales at a bare 169 pounds. But in last year's game he was the outstanding man on the Purple line, making up for his lack of poundage by pure fight.
The exact sort of attack which the Holy Cross strategists have planned is unknown. However, it is fairly certain that the forward pass will figure in it to a great extent. It is obvious that the Purple backfield cannot hope to gain much ground by pounding at the center of the heavy University line. Such an attack would quickly wear itself out, for the Holy Cross backs are not heavy enough to stand too much punishment. Hence end runs, passing, and punting are bound to assume major roles in the Purple style of play.
Coach Fisher put the University players through their final paces in a light work-out yesterday afternoon in the Stadium. The practice was short and consisted for the most part of signal work, dummy scrimmages, and kicking. Team A lined up the same as it will start today's fray.
The men who will take the field at the opening of the game this afternoon will include four players who did not start the Boston University contest last Saturday, H. S. Grew Jr. '24, B. M. Henry '24, C. F. Tierney '22 and F. J. Johnson '22. These four changes have been made by Coach Fisher after a week of experimentation and attempts to wipe out the defects which came to light against B. U., especially in the line.
The Crimson line which faces Holy Cross will be a far more powerful and smooth-working combination than that which encountered B. U. Captain R. K. Kane '22 and John Crocker '22 will be on the wings again. But between the ends the outlook is entirely different. Grew, who has been on the slightly injured list for the past two days, will be able to play at left guard. He weighs over 200 pounds, is aggressive and nervy, and is expected to bolster up his side of the line considerably today. Next to Grew at left tackle will be Henry who stood out prominently in Team B's game with Middlebury last Saturday. Coach Fisher had been working out A. H. Ladd '23 in this position until after Wednesday's scrimmage in which he twisted his shoulder. The Crimson coaching staff does not wish to take any chances of increasing this injury and has therefore determined to keep Ladd out of today's struggle. Henry is powerful, rangy, and well-knit and has an ideal build for tackle. He will probably not play the entire game, but will give way to A. L. Hobson '24 towards the end of the contest.
Tierney to Start at Center
At center Tierney will play his first game of the 1921 season. Tierney is in first class physical shape now and will need all his strength to offset Captain Gildea of Holy Cross, snap-back man on the Purple eleven. J. F. Brown '22 and Benoni Lockwood '22 will take the guard and tackle positions on the right side of the line.
The Crimson backfield will line-up the same as against B. U. except for quarterback. Although Coach Fisher will probably not decide definitely who is to start as guide of the University attack until the last moment, Johnson appears to be the logical man. C. C. Buell '23 will probably be held in reserve as in the Princeton game last year, ready to enter the game at any point and to start his daring passing, drop-kicking offense if the Crimson is in a tight corner.
To offset Johnson and Buell Holy Cross is relying on Wallingford, the only man on the Purple eleven who did not play against the University last fall. He was nursing a broken hand on that occasion, but later in the season starred as a line-plunger in the Boston College contest. Wallingford's generalship may prove the decisive factor in today's game. Coach O'Donnell does not grant that the University has gained a tremendous advantage over his eleven because of having been through one game already. He is confident that the Purple team will play well together in their opener because every man but Wallingford is a seasoned veteran and he expects the new pilot to give a fine exhibition of head-work and general ability.
Punting Duel Promised
The other three backs on the Holy Cross team besides Wallingford are Simendinger, Gagnon, and Riopel. The first two named of these are likely to prove most dangerous to the Crimson. If the work of the linesmen is a virtual draw today and the backfield play decides the issue, the eventual outcome may well depend on how Simendinger's punting compares with that of Fitts. The former has been booting some lengthy spirals in practice lately and is well qualified for a duel with the Crimson left-footer.
Gagnon will do the Purple's drop-kicking again this year. Although he failed to score in the Stadium last fall, he will present a real threat to the Crimson this afternoon if the Holy Cross team is able to bring the ball twenty-five yards past the center of the field. Gagnon is also a slippery runner and will be as fast as anyone in the Stadium today save Chapin. The former will probably be assigned to catch most of Fitts' punts.
The substitute material for both teams is composed of first rate men. The University, however, has the greatest number of reserves to call on and it is in this that Coach Fisher will have a wide edge over his opponents today from the very start.