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For the 17 seniors of Yale's football varsity today is the last chance. The last chance to pull on the Bulldog blue Jerseys, the last chance to listen to 'Ole Carm's pre-game type, the last chance to cavort in the Stadium. But above all, it is the last chance they will have to beat Harvard in football.
For the Yale seniors, four years of Harvard Yale has brought nothing but disappointment and frustration. In the three previous encounters, two with the varsity and one at the freshman level. Yale has always come out on the short end of things. Last year, the Elis introduced themselves to Restic ball and were slapped with a crushing 35-16 loss. The year before, despite Eric Crone's infamous safety. Yale was edged, 16-12. And as freshmen, the mini-Elis aborted, 31-18.
And so the 89th edition of "The Game" has special meaning for the men of blue as they face Harvard for the last time. Not since Yale's Class of 1931 has an Eh class lost four consecutive times to their Cambridge antagonists.
Emotional factors aside though, there are a number of other important issues at stake in today's contest. While Harvard was busy forfeiting its chances for a share of the Ivy League title with upset losses to Penn and Princeton. Yale has remained consistently prominent in the title picture.
Today, with a 4-2 record the Bulldogs are a half game behind frontrunner. Dartmouth and the Harvard contest is vital to the Elis championship aspirations. There is notice for pep talks for Carmen Cozza's squad they know what they must do they have to play rough and pray enough. The prayers are for Penn who plays the Dartmouth Big Green in Philadelphia. There will be a lot of converted Quakers wearing, blue and white uniform today in the Stadium.
There is another important element about today's game for Yale in the last decade the Bulldogs have won only twice from the Crimson and during this period they have lost eight times, including the 29-29 setback in 1968. During this stretch the Elis haven't triumphed a single time in Harvard Stadium. It's been ten years, and for Yale pride that's a long, long time.
Two time All Ivy halfback and Kodak All American Dick Jauron leads the Eli attack. From the Yale wishbone, Jauron is threatening the 1000-yard barrier for season rushing. With a good performance against the Crimson he could go over the top in eight games Jauron has 822 yards in 132 carries for a 6 yard average and has scored ten touchdowns.
Jauron is by far the most complete back that the Crimson has met this season. He can, as the football scouts's cliche-book would say, "do it all." Jauron is a solid pass catcher and with a year's experience as a fullback behind him he is a terocious blocker.
Despite Jauron's credentials, it is futile to key on him. He is only one of four backs in the Yale wishbone who can hurt you on the ground. The other three are all sophomores and they have matured this season into a solid and smooth unit. Quarterback Tom Doyle is a formudible threat as a runner and runs the wishbone attack well. Against Dartmouth Doyle accounted for 160 yards rushing on his own erasing the old record of 110 set by Bryan Dowling Doyle's passing in nowhere near the threat his running to he has completed only 18 out of 47 for '62 yards but Cozza does not start Doyle for his passing and the Eh coach doesn't expect to fall behind often enough to worry.
The other sophomore backs are fireplug fullback Iyrell Hennings and halfback Rudy Green Green and Hennings have combined for nearly 800 yards rushing between them and have accounted for 11 touchdowns. Green averages $6 yards per carry and has scored six times Hennings running mostly inside stuff as the lead man on the wishbone, has scored five T.D.'s while averaging 43 yards per carry.
Restic's major problem this afternoon will be containing the Yale ground at tack. The Eli rushing totals lead the league averaging over 300 yards a game in eight contests.
"They really control the ball on you Restic said yesterday. "They'll take it to you on the outside power sweep better than anyone we'll face. Your linebackers have to run out to cover the outside and then Yale counters off the sweep or gives you the triple option. We've got to gamble to stop them."
How Harvard will attack is a question open to discussion. Restic in his debut performance in "The Game" a year ago pulled all stops, including a quarterback in motion play en route to the win. For today's game, the Crimson coach will take a due from Bogey's Casablanca and round up the usual suspects" to start on offense Number one suspect is Crone who on the strength of his never-having lost to Yale record will start.
In three years Crone has directed the Crimson to three triumphs, and he has an uncanny knack of putting things together for Yale Crone may have his problems elsewhere around the League, but when the Crimson and the Bulldogs face off, he usually straightens his head out enough to pull Harvard through.
Joining Crone in the backfield will be Rod Foster, who returned to his sophomore form a week ago against Brown, gaining 159 yards in just 13 carries and scoring two touchdowns as a fullback. At the halfbacks will be "the usuals, captain Ted DeMars and Mark Wheeler DeMars and Wheeler have combined for 969 yards between them, DeMars also leads the Crimson in scoring with seven touchdowns.
Wheeler has been shut down pretty effectively in recent weeks after an extraordinary start, but with Foster's presence in the backfield, he should get less attention by keying defenses and produce more of the Rashy style of running that endeared him to Harvard fans at the beginning of the year.
How well the Crimson backs produce will depend in large part on the per- formance of the Harvard interior line. Restic has been haunted all year by persistent or recurring injuries in that department, and once again. Harvard is hurting there. Monte Bowens. Mark Bauer. Mike Evans will all probably mins the contest, leaving Restic with Tim Manna and Bob Perry at the tackles. John Frier and Brian Hehir at the guards and Steve Snavely at center.
After last year's decimation at the hands of the Crimson. Cozza is wary of the Restic system's potential for mayhem. "They put an awful lot of pressure on you." Cozza said. "They throw everything at you. You've just got to go with your basic defense and play the ball. If they're on and Crone's throwing we'll be in trouble. Last year they riddled us with Crone's passing."
Crone's passing will be a key issue today, for Harvard fans. The senior quarterback has had an inconsistent season, and his ten interceptions and .396 completion percentage do not speak well for Harvard's passing attack. But if the Crimson is to successfully piece the Eli defense. Harvard must pass, and Crone, as quarterback, must be better than he has shown in the earlier phases of this season.
But past performances seldom mean anything when the Crimson squares off with Old Eli, and Crone in other years has played the script to the T. For 10,000 Men of Harvard, innumerable dates and hangers on, one has to hope that The Zone can reach into his conjuring bag one more time and pullout a trick to bamboozle the Yalies
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