Capitalizing on Bill Wendel's 73-yard scamper with an intercepted pass, the freshman football team yesterday defeated Tufts University's frosh, 13-7, in the Crimson's season opener.
"I was pleased with the way we played, considering we've only had nine practice sessions," Crimson coach Chet O'Neill said after the game. The Crimson, which went scoreless in the first half, spent the first 30 minutes adjusting to Tufts and to game conditions. In spite of their greenness the freshmen were only penalized for 49 yards.
The game was a scoreless deadlock until midway through the third quarter when Wendel, the adjustor (O'Neill's name for a middle line backer-safety), intercepted an errant screen pass and ran it back for a touchdown. James Curry added the point after to make the score 7-0.
Harvard's other tally came on an eight-yard run by halfback Anthony Chase early in the fourth quarter. Chase's touchdown was set up by fullback Tom Lincoln's 51-yard run seconds earlier. Curry missed the point after, so the score remained 10-0.
Tufts's only points came on a 27-yard pass from Randy Rundle to John Connors. The score came near the end of the game when the Crimson's second team defense was seeing action. An onside kick attempt by Tufts failed and Harvard ran out the clock to seal the victory.
"Lincoln did a real good job running the ball for us," O'Neill said. The 6 ft. 1 in., 195 lb. fullback was the game's leading ground gainer picking up 100 yards on seven carries.
O'Brien threw seven times for 49 yards with one interception at the end of the first half. "Wendel got us out of the woods, though, with that interception. He got our team going," O'Neill said.
The freshman have an open date next week and then take on the Boston College freshmen on October 19. Last year's B.C. game was a seesaw battle that finally ended in a Crimson defeat, 28-26. "We'll be up for B.C. I've waited a year for the rematch and the team is going to be ready," O'Neill said.
After the B.C. game the frosh take on four Ivy opponents. With any luck this year's yardlings, whom O'Neill calls as good as last year's team, can better last season's 4-2 freshman record.