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Watching Harvard's number 32 move the football Saturday against Yale, it seemed as if Cleveland's Jim Brown or San Francisco's O.J. Simpson had joined the Ivy League. But after the Crimson had sealed a decisive 22-7 victory over the Elis, the game's leading rusher took off his helmet to reveal sophomore Jim Callinan.
Averaging four yards a carry, Callinan rushed for 73 yards, rounding out his total offense to 135 yards with two interceptions--including one touchdown catch.
Callinan's success on the ground, which earned him ABC's offensive player of the game award, partially resulted from a new fullback off-tackle play that Harvard coach Joe Restic designed specifically to create holes in Yale's defense.
The multiflex marvel called for halfback Jon Hollingsworth to fake up the middle and cut off the linebacker while captain Mike Brown and the tight end took care of Yale's nose-guard and the wing back, respectively. Once the defense was sealed up the middle, Callinan could follow tackle Mike Durgin through the center for an almost guaranteed gain.
The Crimson wasted no time putting the creation into practice as Callinan took Burke St. John's first hand-off of The Game and deftly broke through the Eli's defense for nine yards.
"After the first play, everyone came back to the huddle and caught their breath as we realized that these guys weren't invincible," Callinan said yesterday. "During the whole game, I kept wondering why Yale was the best defense in the country--they weren't hitting very hard and I wasn't going to go down."
In the next 16 plays which culminated in Hollingsworth struggling through the right side to score at 5:06, Callinan carried the ball six times for 32 yards to set up the Harvard touchdown and the tone of The Game.
Two series later, the Cleveland native gathered in a St. John 15-yd. special and ran it 23 yards into the endzone for Harvard's second touch-down at 0:25 in the second quarter.
Callinan continued to get the call on most first downs in the third quarter, but didn't shine again until the last stanza when he made a diving leap for a 25-yd. St. John special to bring the Crimson to Yale's nine-yd. line.
"We knew the linebackers were blitzing, so the middle would be wide open," Callinan said. "I remember thinking that if we just got a first down, we'd end the game."
The next play, Callinan brought the team six yards closer to humiliating the Yale squad before Hollingsworth gained another yard and St. John squirmed over the right side for the final score.
"I was in shock from the last touch-down to the end of the game," the Kirkland House resident said. "Nothing that came before the game mattered--we were Ivy League Champs."
Although Callinan insisted that he "got lucky" Saturday, there was nothing fortunate about a second quarter run when he broke from the Harvard seven to the 42 yard line, only to have the play called back for offensive holding, ruining his 100-yd. rushing game. "That was the picture play of the game," Callinan said.
Coincidentally, Kevin Czinger, who made the stop, was Callinan's teammate at St. Ignatius High School in Ohio.
"Czinger and I were very close in high school," Callinan said. "I think I helped (Harvard center Dave) Scheper a lot by telling him Czinger's weak points."
Other St. Ignatius graduates include Yale quarterback extraordinaire Brian Dowling, Harvard's top career offensive leader Jim Kubacki '77, and Callinan's present teammate, linebacker Brad Stinn.
While Callinan missed the Columbia and Dartmouth matches due to injuries he saw a fair amount of game time during the season, alternating with senior Al Altieri at the fullback position.
At 6-ft., 1-in., 200 lbs., and able to run 40 yards in 4.65 seconds, Callinan can either run past or throw off tackles; and although he pulled off several plays to the outside he said, "the inside, off-tackle play was made just for me."
And Carm Cozza would agree.
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