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An innocent bystander on the Larz Anderson Bridge this afternoon could hardly be blamed for thinking that the 2 p.m. opener of the 1954 football season will be a double-header. His confusion can be explained by the fact that the approximately 5,000 fans entering the east side of the Stadium will be discussing the biggest game in 38 years, while the 10,000 odd heading for the west side will be mulling over what they fear will be one of the drabbest curtain-raisers in 81 seasons of Harvard football.
Certainly it is easy to understand the excitement of the University of Massachusetts, which is meeting its first Ivy League foe since it lost to the Crimson, 47 to 0, in 1916. Yet one doubts if the enthusiasm which inspired 3,000 of 3,900 UMass students to travel to the game will be enough to bring victory.
Meanwhile, the apathy of the fans on the home side of the Stadium is equally easy to understand. How can they get excited over seeing an opponent which last year played Bates, Connecticut, Springfield, Rhode Island, Northeastern, Brandeis, New Hampshire, and Tufts, and could beat only Bates?
But fortunately, the Crimson fans have more to see than the opener with the Redmen from Amherst; what they will really see this afternoon is the first look-- and perhaps a conclusive one--at the 1954 varsity season. They are not expecting a close game today, and they know only too well that if the first opponent proves difficult, the remaining seven foes should be practically impossible.
Next Week Cornell
While Crimson Coach Lloyd Jordan feels that it will take two years for his current squad to match the ability of last season's, he doesn't have two years. And he doesn't have two months, or even two weeks. He has only seven days before his hardest game of 1954--Cornell.
Although Jordan doesn't want to show the Cornell scouts too much today, local fans hope that he will show them enough so that they will condescend to stay for the second half.
Actually, of course, the Cornell team, which suffered a stunning upset at the hands of Colgate last week, isn't taking the Crimson any more lightly than the Crimson is taking UMass this afternoon. And nothing could be more serious than the attitude of the varsity staff and squad.
Any team which wants victory as bad as the Redmen do is not to be disregarded --particularly in a game like football, where the strongest squad on paper loses so often to a supposedly inferior group which is "up".
And never has a school been more "up" than the University of Massachusetts. Last night, for instance, saw a huge pregame rally on the Amherst campus, and at 10 a.m. today a motorcade of 200 cars led by UMass President J. Paul Mather began the 90-mile journey to Cambridge.
They aren't making the trip to lose, and there are other factors besides morale in their favor. In the first place, the visitors' coach, Charlie O'Rourke, has had the advantage of spring training--no longer allowed in the Ivy League--and one game already this season, an impressive 32-27 win over American International. The score indicates the powerful attack of the Redmen.
Going against them this afternoon will be one of the finest lines and most inexperienced backfields the Crimson has had in several years.
The virtually impregnable middle of the line is paced by guards Bill Meigs and Captain Tim Anderson, plus tackles Dick Koch and Bill Frate. Starting at the ends will be Bob Cochran and Joe Ross. All of these men except Frate have started a varsity game before. At center, Jan Meyer will be doing his best to replace the irreplaceable Jeff Coolidge.
As for the backfield, everybody talks more about who won't be back, rather than who will. Several key men are returning, however, including powerful wingback Bob Cowles, who may see some action at fullback if sophomore starter Tony Gianelly fails to live up to expectations. The starting quarterback will be Jerry Marsh, while Joe Conzelman will go at tailback
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