Saturday's Stadium acrobatics caught several score Boston and New York sportswriters just far enough off guard to cause a slow of ecstatic, heedless, devil may care stories in yesterday's papers. Alison Danzig of the New York Times typified the trend:
"Nothing like these black and crimson clad heroes has been seen since the dear dead days that seemed beyond recall for Harvard through years of mediocrity ... (this is) one of the cleverest fanciest, and hardest-hitting Harvard elevens since the days of Percy Haughton."
This is all very pleasant reading, to be sure. But what Mr. Danzig and most of his confreres apparently did not take into account was the fact that this was a real dyed-in-the-wool upset. It was not, as some would have it, the first exhibition of a superb, polished, brutal machine, squashing an inferior opponent. It was an example of what weeks of bruising work can do for blocking and tackling and a man's physical condition; it was an example of what is usually defined as "being up for a game."
Red Smith Finds Keynote
This is not to detract a whit from the coaching or the Crisler system that sprung Crimson runners around end time and time again for long gains; the "Michigan efficiency" is probably the key to the season as a whole. But the key to Saturday's score was more nearly found by Red Smith in his Herald Tribune story:
"When a Cambridge tackler was flattened, he had the un-Harvard discourtesy to bounce up and go flatten the guy with the ball." By exhibiting consistently fine down field blocking, individual tackling, and ground defenses as a whole, the attack of a very strong team was rendered pointless. Art Valpey put it another way: "When they turned the corner, they could taste it."
When a Harvard ballcarrier cut around end, he looked for his best path; when linemen reached the secondary, they looked for the key blocks and executed them with gusto and guts; when a Columbia runner got into our backfield he was met aggressively.
There was much that looked threadbare in the Crimson's play. Pass defense was not all there, nor were the men in the center of the line consistent in stopping Messrs. Kusscrow and Nork.
Balance these two factors, Harvard's condition and drive against lack of polish, and you have the plus and minus of this team. They have to their advantage a spirit which has enabled them to absorb great jobs of training and savvy; they must still learn the fine points of the game, both offensively and defensively.
One a Week
To do what newsmen and the joyful crowd Saturday have already set down as certainty, this squad will have to do what Valpey has preached all along: play just one game a week. The next seven games are as tough as the first, and several are tougher. The team has to do as much every week from here in as it has done for this one game.
If that schedule is adhered to, there may be grounds for some considerable optimism by November.