There are no alibis for Saturday's 20-0 defeat at the hands of Cornell. There need be none, for the Harvard team played the kind of a game of which they and their supporters should be proud. The clash was reminiscent of last year's Dartmouth debacle, for the Big Red (in white) and the Crimson were far closer than the score indicates. This has been said before after Harvard defeats, but never with more truth than after last Saturday.
"Every boy played all the football that was in him," said Dick Harlow at the press conference after the game, and no coach ever spoke more aptly of a team which well deserved his commendation. What pleased Harlow most, however, was evident by his statement: "Those who did not look good again Brown looked good yesterday," and it is no secret that he was speaking primarily of left tackle Tom Healey, left guard Nick Mellen, and center Tim Russell.
Singled out for individual praise these three must be, for each of them was playing under difficult pressure. Healey not only looked like a different player than he did against Brown but also unproved continually as the Cornell game progressed, Russell turned in by far his best game since the Princeton tie two years ago, when he was a Sophomore.
As for Mellen, suffice it to say the 175-pounder was a standout all afternoon. "Magnificent" and "by far the best guard we have come up against" was his description by Ithacan coach Snavely after the game.
One more Crimson gridman must be mentioned entirely individually. Formerly a center, only 12 days ago a halfback, Bill Coleman played a truly inspired game at right guard. At the press conference Coach Snavely mentioned Coleman as being almost single-handedly responsible for Cornell's first sustained march being halted .
Captain Bob Green and right tackle Ken Booth, the two most reliable performers game in and game out, were again top-notchers for the total forces. Green's most spectacular play occurred in the second canto, when he and bucker Mike Cohen caught the fleet Brud Holland from behind after a goodly Ithacan gain on an end-around play. Booth was the outstanding blocked on the field.
Chief Boston Hurt
The Harlowmen came out of the game with perhaps more than the usual amount of bumps and bruises and one injury which may prove really costly. That was to Chief Boston, who alternated with Cliff Wilson at blocking back. The Chief sustained a leg injury which makes his status questionable for next Saturday's clash with Army.
After the first play from scrimmage, when Ithacan Baker broke away to jaunt 74 yards to score on a perfect reverse through the weak side, the game gave evidence of being a rout. Harvard had to punt right away, and the Cornell attack functioned again. It had to be stopped twice, but twice it was stopped, and from there on, the Crimson showed they are a team to be reckoned with by all future opponents.
For the last two tallies by the Suavelymen were definitely of the "break" variety, one on an intercepted pass and the other on a long punt runback by fleet, visitor Peck.
Crimson Great in Third Period
Most encouraging for Harlow and his staff was the Crimson's play during the third period, when they rolled up six of their eight first downs to none for their opponents. Through the line they could not gain, but it must be remembered that Cornell has the finest defensive forward wall Harvard will come up against.
Using their fake punt pass play and a variety of other serials, the Crimson threatened the Cornell goal all through this third canto, only to be dented three times.
Another really encouraging feature of the game was Harvard's punting, so lacking in recent years. Both Austie Harding and Frank Foley contributed towering spirals to give the team a 41-yard punt average from the line of scrimmage.
Cornell mentor Snavely, who before the game bemoaned the fact that his club was the "worst I've ever coached" admitted afterwards that this was a pre-game piece of crying.
All-American end Holland was not in too much evidence. Why? Mr. Wilson, Harlow's blocker extraordinary (also Mr. Boston) flattened him on practically all occasions. "Where do those guys get all their fight?", questioned the battered Brud in the dressing room.
Austie Harding showed again that he has an uncanny knowledge of everything to do with the forward passing end of the sport. Besides throwing most of the completed ones, Harding went on the receiving end of two that might have been pay heaves. First Macdonald and then Foley, however, threw the ball far over his head.
Don Daughters turned in a great flanking job until forced to retire with a banged eye midway in the second period. He returned in the third to snare, Larry Kelly fashion, Foley's flat pass, a sensational play.
About Cornell's only weakness, as expected, was its pass defense. "I'm glad we've improved here," said Snavely, and then he added, "Last week the only men my boys covered were the linemen and the field judges."