Aside from assorted bumps and bruises, the Crimson football squad escaped healthy and victorious from Columbia's Baker Field last Saturday. The only notable injury is the broken finger of defensive end Tony Finan.
UMass, Harvard's opponents in Saturday's home opener, suffered a 10-0 loss at Soldiers Field in the third game of 1978, but went on to win eight of their last ten games after that. This season, 30 lettermen have returned and the average Minuteman outweighs the average Crimson player by about 10 pounds.
UMass has traditionally had a strong running attack as the minutemen had three backs with over 500 yards in 1978, led by Dennis Dent with 1139. Dent is gone but Cliff Pedrow (582 yards last year) returns along with versatile quarterback Mike McEvilly.
After suffering an opening loss to Villanova, UMass came back to thrash a hapless Maine squad last Saturday, 38-14. They also lost a scrimmage with Columbia early in the season, but the transitive law, though it works in mathematics, does not necessarily apply to college football (what laws do?), and as Harvard coach Joe Restic said yesterday, "We have no way of knowing what players played and for how long."
Restic says he will try to play as many players as possible both because it is a home game with no roster limit and because he feels that depth could become a problem this season. In particular, he hopes to give back-up quarterback Mike Buchanan some playing time. "You have to try to protect yourself," Restic said. "We could be in real trouble if some of our key people get hurt."
"But," he added, "I also look at this game as one which we must win so we can gain some momentum going into the rest of the Ivy League season. How much we substitute will depend on the score."
Restic will change both the offensive and defensive strategies of the Crimson for this game because of the strength of the Minutemen. The home crowd may also see more of Paul Scheper, whom Restic feels played well against the Lions.