It all goes to show that you really don't need a quarterback to win football games.
Or at least you don't need one who can throw. Army coach Ed Cavanaugh proved that Saturday afternoon at the Stadium, alternating between two laughingly ineffective throwers, and still directing the Cadets to a 27-13 win over the Crimson.
One big runner--senior halfback Gerald Walker--and one big play--a 71-yd. Bryan Allem to Al Wynder bomb--provided the offense for Army and handed Harvard its second straight loss to a non-league opponent. The Crimson heads to Cornell with a 1-2 overall mark, 1-0 in the Ivy League.
The Cadets simply controlled the ball for long, crucial stretches of the game, keeping the Crimson defensive unit on the field--and heralded Harvard quarterback Ron Cuccia off. "When they had to do it, they controlled the ball," Crimson coach Joe Restic said at the post-game press conference. "They took five minutes off the clock on the last drive (a ten-play, 60-yd. TD campaign). We just couldn't get the ball back."
Doing most of the running on that and most other drives was Walker, who romped through some big gaps in the Harvard defensive line for 150 yards. The big halfback carried the ball 38 times; fullback Warren Waldorff--the next leading Army rusher--got his hands on the pigskin just nine times for 27 yards.
A quick examination of the passing stats of quarterbacks Allem and Jerryl Bennett shows how important Walker was to the Army attack. Besides the Allem-to-Wynder bomb--probably the biggest play of the afternoon--the two signal-callers combined to complete just four of 20 passes for 29 yards.
In spite of the anemic passing game, a long aerial gainer marked the final shift in momentum of a see-saw contest. Late in the third quarter, with the score 13-13 and Army in a third-and-14 situation, Allem dropped back to pass.
Spotting split end Wynder 45 yards downfield at the Harvard 35, he unloaded the bomb. Both Wynder and defensive back Rocky Delgadillo went up for the ball--and Delgadillo got burned. The two fought briefly for the ball, until the Crimson back ended up on the ground, leaving Wynder with a relatively free path to the goal.
He scampered 29 yards to the Crimson six before being brought down from behind by cornerback Chris Myers. Three plays later, Allem scored on a keeper from the one, making the score 20-13.
After that score, the Crimson offense--relatively effective through the third quarter--ground to a halt. A succession of pass attempts into a suddenly closed off Army secondary, and running plays into a by-then dominant Army defensive line, kept the Crimson from tying the score.
The Cadets added seven insurance points two-thirds of the way through the fourth quarter, putting together a ball-control drive that assured the second straight Crimson loss. Of ten plays on the drive, Walker carried the ball eight times for 53 yards.
"We started running right at them and we were successful at it," said Walker of the long Army scoring campaign. "When you start running straight up the middle it takes a lot out of a defense."
The Army advantage was most apparent at the respective lines. In the first and third quarter, the Crimson offensive line managed to protect Cuccia, freeing him to practice his offensive wizardry in relative peace. But a second-quarter breakdown--not as serious as last week's disastrous second stanza against Holy Cross--choked the Cuccia style, and obviously worn out lines on both sides of the ball could neither protect Cuccia nor stop Walker--who ran for 100 yards in the second half.
"We're not a ball-control kind of team," Restic said. "We're not going to run up and down the field, but when we establish field position we can make the big play." Like last week, though, the Crimson never really managed to establish that position or hold on to it once it had it. A total of two yards on kickoff returns, third down conversions on just three of 12 opportunities, and three lost fumbles floored the Crimson. Harvard--Acheson 3 run (kick failed)
Harvard--Acheson 3 run (kick failed)