The people who left Saturday's Harvard-Army game early to beat the traffic probably went home and sat down to their Yankee Doodle pot roast and apple pie and left football out of their dinner-table discussion on how nice the Military Academy looked as the leaves begin to change, how nice the Cadets all looked in their crisp uniforms and shiny shoes and how nice it would be to win a nuclear war.
Football, though no less important in their lives, was probably not mentioned much, since those who left early had seen a pretty boring 50 minutes of football.
Sure, there were some moments in the course of play worth a few units in the football memory banks.
With 2:44 left in the first half and the ball and the Army nine. Harvard quarterback Don Allard masterfully twisted his way into the end zone behind an unbalanced line.
Then, just before halftime, Army retaliated with a pretty touchdown play of its own. Quarterback Bryan Allem lofted a long pass to the back of the Harvard end zone.
Somehow, some way, wide receiver Elton Akins, who had dropped an easy ball only two plays before, made a diving, fingertip catch as he said across the back line, helping Army to the game, 7-7,13 seconds before intermission. They play covered 34 yards.
As for the rest of the action, well, there was nothing to write home about, and certainly nothing worth ruining a good pot roast.
Things didn't really start cooking-and I don't mean in the oven until only four minutes remained in the contest.
Harvard, trailing 17-7 got the ball on its own seven after an Army punt with 4-12 left in the game and started to move.
"On that drive we had nothing to lose." Allard said yesterday. "A turnover at that time couldn't hurt us. We just turned it loose."
Nine plays later, Wally Rutecki was on the receiving end of an Allard touchdown pass, and with 1.38 left, Harvard trailed by only four.
The two-point converstion attempt failed--and proved costly, as the Crimson was forced to waste a time out because there were too many red jerseys on the field.
Harvard, as everyone expected, went for an onside kick, and with luck now colored in Crimson, the ball bounced into the arms of cornerback Chris Myers at midfield There was one last chance to win with 1.34 remaining in the game.
Moving the offense downfield on a pass and two quarterback keepers. Allard used the Crimson's final time out with 56 seconds on the clock, still 25 yards from the end zone.
The next play turned out to be the key to the ball game. Allard dropped back to pass, and realized that he had a lot of clear field in front of him on the left. He scrambled out of the pocket, looking like he had a clear path at least to the five yard line and maybe into the end zone.
"I thought I could get down the field." Allard said. "The only guy between me and the goal line had his back to me, still covering the receiver I was looking to score."
He would have, too, but for a shoe-string tackle from behind at the 16 by a lunging defensive end named Bob Wood. "I didn't even see the guy that tripped me up." Allard said.
Two plays and 25 seconds later. Allard's final pass of the day went through the bands of tight end Ed, Farrell just inside the five and beating the traffic looked like a good idea once again,
Beating Army on the final play of the game would have been nice, too.