Saturday was no day for football. Ask any of the 5000 spectators who sogged through four quarters of the Harvard-BU contest. Ask the stadium vendors who had to sell soggy popcorn. Ask Box Jox, who cancelled on their Crimson football commitment. Ask Boston University coach Larry Navisux.
Especially ask Larry Navisux. It was no day for football and BU's Terriers more than proved it. They fumbled on the first two plays of the game. They fell behind, 31-0, as Harvard scored the first five times the Crimson had the ball. And then, slipping, sliding, and bobbling along, they lost to Harvard, 33-14.
It wasn't football. Maybe "grease-the-pig" or "slitherball," but not football. BU fumbled a dozen times, and Harvard retaliated with five of their own. Seventeen fumbles in four quarters! Even the 30 m.p.h. winds that drove sheets of rain in from the open end of the field couldn't behave it.
The Crimson fared better in the exchange program Saturday. Joe Restic's multiple offense, led by Eric Crone, hydroplane through the first quarter and never had to look back.
It took Crone exactly seven seconds to engineer the first Crimson score. Following Dave St. Pierre's recovery of Warren Collin's fumble. Crone rolled around right end with halfback Mark Wheeler trailing. It was the play that Harvard had opened with against UMass, and, in the season's opener, had netted Wheeler a 71-yard touchdown.
Against the Terriers, though, Crone hung onto the ball and rolled unmolested 11 yards into the end zone. With Bruce Tetirick's conversion, the score jumped to 7-0, and a rout was on.
BU's second series was more successful--the Terriers didn't fumble the ball away--but gained nothing on the scoreboard. The Terriers moved the ball only fifteen yards before being forced to punt.
Harvard, with Crone in control, took over on the Crimson's 23 yard line, and led off again with the Crone-Wheeler option. This time Crone pitched to the halfback, who picked up 18 yards. Thirteen plays and 77 yards later, the Crimson scored again, with Ted DeMars going in from the five.
From then on Harvard scored at will, running up an insurmountable 31-0 lead in a little over a quarter.
Wheeler picked up the third Crimson score at 10: 43 of the first period. Taking a handoff from Crone, Wheeler broke off left tackle, reversed his field, and scored on a twisting 38-yard touchdown scamper through the raindrops.
Harvard squeezed in another score at 14:55 when Tetirick booted a 33-yard field goal after the Crimson defense had forced BU to punt.
Fifty-four seconds later, the Crimson regained control of the football via--you guessed it--a fumble recovery of the kickoff and Harvard scored again. With the ball on BU's 39, Crone rolled out to his right, drawing the wary BU secondary up to defend against the run. Then, spotting DeMars, who had slipped in behind the Terrier defenders, the senior quarterback arched one to his halfback at the 15. Prom there it was clear sailing for the Crimson captain. Harvard 31, BU nothing.
Throughout this first-quarter Crimson onslought, the BU offense could not get its wishbone attack untracked. The Harvard defense, sparked by some crisp tackling by the secondary and strong work up front by Mitch Berger and Sandy Tennant, repeatedly turned back the thrusts.
In the first half, the Terriers' ball handling was even sloppier than the weather. Quarterback Ray Roach couldn't get the team moving, or keep his footing, or hang onto the wet ball. As a result, the Terriers made the Crimson's job a lot easier by stifling their own drives and offensive maneuvers.