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Joe Roda dropped back to pass in the fourth quarter at the Yale 40-yard line, and threw the ball to Pete Varney for a completion at the ten. Harvard was driving towards a tying touchdown.
Back in Cambridge, Frank Champi was listening to parts of the game on radio. "I didn't really care that much, to tell you the truth." Champi said last night. "I just listened to bits and pieces." He had stayed home to do two papers.
But to the 62.562 people in the Yale Bowl Saturday, the game mattered very much. The Harvard fans were praying for another comeback, much like the one Champi had led last year, and the Yale fans were saving their handkerchiefs for the final whistle.
As it turned out, however, they could have displayed their handkerchiefs for good after Bill Prumps tunneled through the left side of the Harvard line for the game's only touchdown late in the third quarter.
Yet there was reason for Yale's concern for most of the fourth quarter. Roda, sent in to replace sophomore starter Rex Blankenship, began throwing completions into the shaky Yale secondary, and had it not been for the defensive end Jim Gallagher and a few linemates. Harvard could easily have tied and perhaps have won the 86th game of the series.
But when Gallagher rushed in from Roda's blind side on a play to crumple him to the ground and caused a fumble with 60 seconds left, all hope for a tie came to a screeching halt.
The game was not supposed to be close, but Harvard's defense decided to make it that way. On the first eight plays of the first quarter. Yale drove 50 yards to the Harvard 24, but then the defense stiffened.
In the second quarter, the offense occasionally indicated that it might score some points. After fullback Tom Miller had gained a total of one yard on two consecutive carries. Blankenship sent him up the middle on a third-and-nine situation. He broke through the line, and with the help of a crushing block by Varney, gained 18 yards to the Harvard 39.
But the next three plays went nowhere. Yale quarterback Joe Massey, meanwhile, was showing why he has earned a reputation for being a second-half quarterback, so the Crimson got two more chances before halftime but failed to score.
One Right Hand
Then Yale came along. Bob Milligan got just behind the secondary to receive a long pass from Massey. and he would have scored but for Fred Martucci's right hand, which barely managed to trip him up.
After another big gain to the Harvard 17. two big stops by Spencer Dreischars and John Kramer and an interception by Greg Koski halted the drive.
Harvard had an excellent chance to score when Jim Reynolds. who played a superb game, returned the second-half kickoff 47 yards to the Yale 49 with the help of some great blocking. But a penalty and a fumble by Miller gave Yale the ball.
Finally, after a few exciting efforts by Reynolds and Blankenship, the Bulldogs put together a drive that earned them their seven points and a third of the Ivy title.
The trouble began when Massey was confronted by three Harvard players on an option to the right. He pitched to Don Martin who was free then and for the next 36 yards. until Walter Johnson stopped him.
Then on a crucial third-and-nine from the Harvard 29, Massey threw to Lew Rooney, who juggled the pass before finally securing it 19 yards from the goal line. Matters got worse when Dreischars piled on Rodey to bring the ball even closer to the end zone. Three plays later Primps and the football were safely over the goal line.
Harvard soon moved to the Yale 39 on a pass from halfback Steve Harrison to Varney for a first down. Four plays later, a fake field goal attempt by Richy Szaro fooled no one, including Gallagher. who stopped Reynolds to give the Elis the ball.
The chance to end all chances came five minutes into the final quarter. Mark Steiner, one of the defensive standouts, recovered a fumble by Martin to stop another Yale threat. A few moments later. Gallagher, who had blocked five punts this season, roughed Singleterry to set up a first down at the Yale 40 Roda's long pass to Varney followed immediately and it seemed certain a tie was near.
However, Gallagher and Andy Coe threw Roda for long losses on two of the next three plays and a pass to Bruce Freeman was dropped Szaro's field goal attempt from the 37 was no good.
The Crimson quickly got the ball back and the next turning point came when linebacker Ron Kell tackled Roda a yard short of a first down on fourth-and-three in Yale territory.
Martucei's interception and Rick Frisbie's block of a field goal got the ball back twice, but awesome rushes by the Yale line made sure that Roda's desperate efforts to get his team on the scoreboard were not successful.
And thus ended a 3-6 season.
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