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The varsity football team plays its most crucial game of the year this afternoon when it faces a powerful Dartmouth eleven at 2 p.m. in the Stadium.
This game could make or break the season for the Crimson. Dartmouth is heavily favored, with the pre-game point spread being set at about thirteen; if the Crimson could manage an upset win it would lift the team's morale for the coming games with strong Penn and Princeton.
Unfortunately for coach John Yovicsin's squad, sophomore halfback Chet Boulris will be available for limited duty only. Boulris, who has averaged about 4.5 yards per carry, in the last three games and was counted on heavily for service against the Indians, has been hit by a respiratory infection this week and is still weak from its effects. It is not definite how much he will be able to play.
The rest of the varsity should be near its peak for the game. Tackle Pete Briggs, injured against Columbia, has recovered and will be in his usual starting position at left tackle. The rest of the line will be the same unit which has blocked the Crimson to consecutive wins over Ohio and Columbia, and the backfield will have Albie Cullen at left halfback, replacing Boulris if he is unable to start, as its only newcomer to the starting ranks.
With Boulris incapacitated, the brunt of the Crimson running attack will fall to Walt Stahura and Sam Halaby. Both looked very good against Columbia, especially Stahura, who has averaged nearly seven yards per carry since switching from the quarterback.
At quarterback, Dick McLaughlin will be counted on heavily to turn in a performance up to the standards he set against Columbia. In that contest, he appeared to come into his own both on offense and defense and to gain confidence with each play.
Opposing the Crimson will be the only major undefeated squad in the East. Led by captain and all-America candidate Joe Palermo at left guard, Dartmouth may well be the most powerful aggregation to face the varsity this year.
Its line has held opposition to a stand-still in each game, while the backfield has shown considerable efficiency in to-talling up large scores. Against Brown--rated as an Ivy League power in pre-season predictions--Dartmouth ground out 35 points while holding the Bruins scoreless.
Particularly dangerous in today's contest will be the passing combination of quarterback Dave Bradley and left end Dave Moss. The Crimson has shown glaring weakness on pass defense throughout the first three games, and it is likely that with good weather the Indians will be using the pass frequently. Whether the Crimson wins or loses may well depend on the degree to which Yovicsin has been able to sharpen his defenses during the past week.
The line will be faced with a particularly demanding assignment this afternoon. The Crimson forward wall has only one strong replacement at the guard and tackle slots. Chauncey Walker will be in the role of swinging guard, spelling Harold Anderson and Tom Hill, while Dave Schein will spell Briggs and Bob Shaunessy at the tackles.
The line will have to rush passer Bradley hard and at the same time be ready to stop the running attack out of the "V" formation. Shaunessy will call the signals on defense as he has done so capably all year and much of the responsibility of the Crimson's success will rest with him. At the ends captain Tom Hooper and John Copeland will attempt to cut down on weaknesses which have been evident in the end work on opposition pass plays during the past few games. Stu Hershon and Warren Huff will probably see a good deal of action as replacements for Hooper and Copeland
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