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When the B.U. football team came to the Stadium two years ago, Terrier supporters proclaimed the game as "the one we've been waiting twenty years to play."
The Crimson was somewhat less enthusiastic, but it won easily. Now the Terriers return to the Stadium this afternoon at 1:30, unbeaten in two games and hungry for a third victory, and Boston sportswriters have been billing the contest as a "battle of unbeatens." This is hardly the case. The Terriers have whipped both Colgate and Vermont. but in neither case did they defeat a strong football team. Harvard has beaten Holy Cross, but looked sluggish on offense.
And this year, on the surface at least, B. U. has adopted a different psychological approach towards Harvard. Two seasons ago the Terriers were rated first in New England in pre-season polls, but peaked so intensely for Harvard that they lost both of their first two games. They went on to a miserable 3-6 record.
B.U. is wary of overpsyching today, and Terrier fullback John Ratalko has been telling as much to Boston reporters all week.
"I think we all realize we are playing Harvard," he told a Herald writer yesterday, "but I don't think anyone tooks at this game as more important than playing Colgate or Vermont or any other opponent. It wouldn't make much sense to beat Harvard and lose all our other games."
There is little chance of that. B. U. has a solid squad for the first time in recent years, and it features an offense that could give the Crimson's defensive unit a real test. But despite Ratalko's approach. the Harvard game is the most important. both emotionally and strategically. for the Terriers this fall.
The Crimson is by far the stiffest competition on the B. U. schedule. and if the Terriers manage an upset this afternoon. they have an excellent chance of an undefeated season. their first ever.
And, as B.U. coach Larry Navianx admitted. everyone loves a crack at an Ivy school. especially Harvard. and the Terriers attach an incredible amount of significance to any B.U. Harvard contest. B. U. will. without doubt. be psychologically ready for Harvard. Harvard need not be as prepared emotionally. but it must get its offense untracked and moving early if it is to stifle any chances of an upset.
The Terrier attack is impressive, Rafalko and halfback Bob Calascibetta are both proven runners, junior Gary Capehart has been a surprising newcomer, and sophomore Sam Hollo can both scramble and pass as well. It is a consistent, grinding running attack, but it has yet to encounter a defense as strong as Harvard's. There should be little cause for major concern this afternoon. Harvard should hold it to less than three touch downs.
But unless the Crimson can score with more frequency than it did last week three touchdowns might be enough to keep Harvard under.
Both Frank Champi and Dave Smith can direct a running attack, but Champi must be more impressive than he was against Holy Cross. But the backfield has awesome potential. and ends Pete Varney and Bruce Freeman rank with any in the East. so if Harvard can control the ball, and run effectively against B.U.'s veteran line. it should win.
The Terriers have never beaten Harvard, and they have yet to complete an unbeaten season, Harvard should postphone both events this afternoon.
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