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ITHACA, N.Y.--For many years, Bob Blackman ruled the Ivy League from a little perch in Hanover New Hampshire.
Six years ago, though, the man who has won more Ivy games and championships than anyone else decided to play ball with the big boys and while his six-year stint at Illinois was by no means a disaster, nobody at Michigan or Ohio State was seen shaking in his cleats.
So last December a funny thing happened. Blackman brought his bag of tricks, many of which do their best to stretch the Ivy rules, back to a familiar playground.
The team he inherited at Cornell had disaster written all over it, though, so Blackman's second go-around in the Ivies is currently without a victory. Against Harvard here this afternoon he hopes to change that.
To do so, Blackman will have to outflex Joe Restic who, along with Brown's John Anderson and Yale's Carm Cozza, represents the power elite that succeeded Blackman in the Ivy throne room. Restic came to Cambridge the year Blackman went west, young man, and today's contest marks their initial meeting. It won't be their last.
For the Crimson, this game could very well remake or break its season. Two successive non-league defeats have made people forget that in the Ivies, Harvard is still undefeated and shares the lead with Dartmouth and Yale. The latter square off in New Haven today, so a Crimson victory over the Big Red will mean a two way share of the top.
In this attempt, Restic will first have to establish a running game to compliment the Brian Buckley air show. "Once we do that," Restic said before departing for Ithaca, "we can open up with some play-pass action."
Despite his 20 for 40 250-yard second half against Colgate, Buckley will not get the starting nod today. Buckley's got the arm, but he obviously can't handle the total offense. If he could, he would start. Larry Brown, who will start, and Burke St. John can handle the offense, but they haven't got the arms.
Despite his impressive stats of a week ago, Buckley could have done even better. "He could have done better without even trying," Restic said. "We had to build his confidence, but there were guys wide open."
Jim Curry for one. Although the senior wide receiver tied Pat McInally's Harvard record last week for most receptions in one game with 13, he should have had twenty. On some occasions, Buckley didn't see him roaming wide open down field. On others, Curry didn't see the ball.
The last time Curry played in Ithaca, he caught 9 passes for 214 yards, a Harvard yardage record and the NCAA season high. Of course, then Bob Blackman was still in Illinois.
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