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The History of Harvard's Commencement, Explained

THE SPORTING SCENE

Sixty Minutes Over Michie Field

By Edward J. Coughlin

Last Saturday afternoon at West Point a large group of Army and Dartmouth football players appeared in a game slated to separate the men from the boys. The boys swiped the show by a fairly wide margin.

We sat in a pressbox high over Michie Stadium and shivered--and it wasn't the cold mid-afternoon wind. It was the sight of a handful of green or black clad freshmen and sophomores taking the play away from their older counterparts--and playing some competent football while doing so. And it was the AP machine to our left that ticked out very precisely, "third period...Cornell 35...Harvard 0."

The west Pointers led in the boy department, with eight freshmen and 24 sophomores on a 48-man squad, but were short-ended in scoring by 28 to 14. Although Dartmouth had clearly the better of the two teams, Army decided early to hand the decision to its guest without too great a struggle. The gift was made in the form of four strategic fumbles, politely laid down by sundry Black Knights in areas flooded with white-jersied Dartmouths. The Indians made the best possible use of these opportunities, and managed to prevent Army from capitalizing on one recovered fumble and a blocked kick.

White Knights

Now, as readers of last August's front pages are well aware, Earl Blaik numbers among his Black Knights two ends, one Ed Weaver and one John Krobock--both honorable men. Behind them are Lowell Sisson, Bob Mischak, and Ron Lincoln, three more competent ends. Between the, is nothing. The Army defensive linemen soared through on every play, several times catching the ball-carrier for a loss, but more often finding themselves trapped or outmaneuvered. Dartmouth's line played more of a shifting-and-waiting game.

As a result, Tuss McLaughry's Indians were notably unsuccessful in turning the ends, but inside the tackles and on pass plays they ran into far less trouble. Working from a straight T with balanced line (as did Army) and a winged T, the Injuns unwrapped a highly efficient sophomore quarterback named Jim Miller, whose flat, hard throws had Army's weaker left side backers-up doing futile somersaults. Miller, supposedly the understudy of more experienced Gene Howard and Dick Brown, was certainly less adept at ball-handling but a far better passer than either. Brown and Howard contributed little more than a pair of 50-yard punts.

Cloud of Blockers

The sophomore signal-caller took advantage of Army's charging line to pull a screen pass play--quarterback to fullback behind a cloud of blockers that was, on at least one occasion, close to perfection. His favorite inside device was a handoff to left half Tom Collins or a pitchout to fullback John Foster, while either of these hard-running backs followed his left guard over right tackle. And the speed of Miller's throws made spot passes to ends Dave Thielscher and John McDonald frequent and effective at loosening the Knight defense.

Probably the two fastest men on the field were Dartmouth right half and a substitute Army end The former, 165 pound Dick Collins, broke away several times on fine runs, the latter was Army's Mischak whose one claim to fame was a fantastic ability at returning kickoffs. He had a chance to show off this peculiar specialty three times the last a 97-yard touchdown toddle.

Army's backfield tottered off on the wrong foot with first stringers quarterback Fred Meyers and halfback Tom Bell out of commission and with second quarterback Dick Boyle recuperating from an injury and comparatively ineffective. The majority of the quarterbacking was done by Pete Vann, a hard-passing freshman. And there is little doubt that ends like Weaver and Sisson made Vann look better than he actually was. Another freshman, fullback Dick Reich, developed as the workhorse of the Pointers.

Injuries and Blunders

But for all the Cadet injuries and blunders, there seemed little doubt that Dartmouth could have won under any circumstances. This opinion was certainly shared by an undergraduate announcer of the Dartmouth Broadcasting System, who chattered ecstatically throughout the game to his Hanover audience about the prodigious feats of Miller, McDonald, and Collins.

This announcer furnished the only relief to pressbox tension later when he took time out to introduce a few guest stars. "Here," he said, "are a couple of boys I guess you'd call celebrities--Marty Cunningham and Woody Kline, the present and month."

"And, oh yes," he added a few minutes later "Here's another celebrity--Red Smith of the New York Herald Tribune."

We folded our typewriter and crept back to Vassar.

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