"We lost, 21-21," mumbled a Dartmouth spotter as he trudged out of the press box. But in the Harvard locker room, no one was feeling too triumphant. Dartmouth fumbled, Harvard penalized itself repeatedly, and the two rivals combined to give an exciting, sloppy statements to 32,000 live onlookers and the local tube.
Harvard's defense played well for the second straight week, buoying title hopes that were further enhanced by Yale's fumbling loss to Cornell. The offense, on the other hand, was less than impressive, producing only one legitimate touchdown.
Running frequently from a full-home "T" in an attempt to crack Dartmouth's eight man defensive line. Crimson rushing leaders Ted DeMars and Mark Wheeler went nowhere, averaging 2.7 and 3.6 yards per carry respectively.
Quarterback Eric Crone had an equally unspectacular day. Forced into third and long situations by numerous illegal procedure penalties, Crone picked up acres of Internal yardage running around in the backfield.
But although he also ran for more forward yards than anyone else, his scrambling passes found the mark only six times in sixteen attempts. Three times, Crone passes ended up in the arms of Dartmouth defensive backs, and twice, his inability to decide whether to throw or not led to crippling illegal receiver penalties.
Harvard coach Joe Restic claims that Crone's receivers were well covered by Dartmouth's excellent defensive backfield, but with Restic's meandering, multi-receiver pass patterns, it's hard to tell.
Fortunately, Dartmouth presented Harvard with two touchdowns. The Big Green wasted little time in bestowing its first gift, fouling up a reverse punt return early in the first quarter. The two Dartmouth runners missed connections on their own five yard line, the ball rolled into the endoze, and punting center Kerry Rifkin fell on it for a touchdowns.
Dartmouth came right back by hitting at Harvard's one glaring defensive weakness--the long pass--as quarterback Steve Stetson hit Tyrone Byrd in stride on a 59-yard scoring bomb. Harvard Cornerback Barry Malinowski was the cleanly beaten victim.
Kicker Ted Perry, Harvard's last-second enemies in Dartmouth's 16-13 win of a year ago, missed the extra point, and Harvard retained a 7-6 lead.
The Crimson moved the ball well in the first quarter, marching from its own 20 to the Dartmouth 30 once before an illegal procedure penalty and an ineligible receiver ruined the drive.
Late in the quarter. Harvard put together its only sustained, penalty-less drive of the game, Crone found Demare deep on a third and long situation for a 56-yard gain, hit join Hagerty for 19 more, and ran himself to the one yard line to set up Wheeler's sweep for the touchdown.
Harvard never moved outside its won 35 for the remainder of the half, however, and Dartmouth cashed in on good field position for 12 points. Another long pass to Byrd set up the first of Perry's three field goal, and a well-executed screen pass gave Dartmouth a 15-14 lead. Perry pass shanked another point after attempt, but he made up for it with one second remaining in the half. A partially-blocked Harvard punt gave the Green a scoring chance on the Crimson 21, and Perry drilled a 38-yarder off the goal post and over the cross bar.
An interception started off Dartmouth's last scoring drive midway through the third quarter. Staying almost entirely on the ground. Dartmouth marched 56 yards in 14 plays to the Harvard six before the defense held, forcing the visitors to settle for another field goal.
Despite the Dartmouth scoring. Harvard's defense was still in its own territory. Excluding the first quarter bomb and the blocked punt in the final seconds of the half. Dartmouth moved inside the Harvard 30 five times. They scored once, but for the rest, the Crimson defense either stopped the Green or forced them to go for the field goal. On a fourth and one situation on the Harvard eight in the second quarter. Malinowski took a few inches off his goal horns by nailing a Dartmouth ball carrier for a loss.
The defense also set up Harvard's last and tying touchdown late in the third period. Mike McHugh jarred the ball loose from Stetson on the Dartmouth eight yard line. Bob Kristoff recovered on the two, and DeMars scored one play later.
Restic elected not to go for the two-point conversion, a decision he later regretted. Neither team moved the ball well in the fourth quarter, as the contest became a kicking game.
Low line drives off Jim Stoekel's foot contributed to a pair of long runbacks by Dartmouth. Nevertheless, bottled up on his own five late in the game. Stoekel unloaded a 57-yard boot to get Harvard out of trouble.
Harvard had one last chance with two minutes remaining, nudging across midfield with a first down, but the Crimson appropriately doomed themselves with a final illegal receiver penalty.
Led by Mike O'Hare (11 tackles) and Kristoff (9 tackles), the defense was impregnable against the run. Defensive end Mike McHugh also starred, making seven tackles, forcing two fumbles, recovering one, and sacking Stetson once. The defensive secondary stopped Stetson's passing game, except when he threw long. In the fourth quarter, Stetson had Byrd wide open down field, but he underthrew the pass.