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Robert Santiago

It's All Fun and Games for the Ivies' Top Runner

Life is simple for Robert Santiago.

"Besides football and sleeping," the Crimson fullback says, "there's not much else to do except play Ms. Pac Man."

But on autumn Saturday afternoons, Santiago has to wake up, forget about video games and concentrate on only one thing--that's football.

And he does football right.

Santiago has pushed for 814 yards this season, best on the squad, and entering The Game he ranks fourth on Harvard's all-time single-season rushing list. He also leads the team in pass receptions with 21.

But most important, the junior is the Crimson's only bona fide big-play threat. With his blazing 4.5 speed, he is capable of scoring any time he touches the ball.

The season was only a few minutes old when Santiago made his first big play of the year, the now-infamous Floyd's touchdown. In what he considers the highlight of his season. Santiago scampered 73 yards into the endzone on a sweep, dropped the bail, turned to face the television cameras, raised his arms to signal a touchdown, and then formed an "F"--for Floyd's--with his body.

That was for his buddies watching the game backcat Floyd's, the Cabot House grill. Santiago won a bet and got some free food out of the deal.

Since then, the 5-11, 190-pound fullback has repeated the "F" signal only once, against Brown. But he's done an awful lot else to draw attention.

After rushing for 204 yards against Columbia the second highest total ever for a Harvard runner--Santiago has turned in stellar performances against the rest of the lvies. He currently holds a huge lead in the league rushing race over Cornell's Tony Baker.

Santiago has also piled up enough yardage that he's only 13 yards short of third on the all-time single-season list, 136 shy of second.

He would have a legitimate shot at setting the all-time Harvard single season rushing record (set by Jim Callanan in 1982 with 1054 yards)--or at least becoming the second 1000-yd, rusher in Harvard history--were it not for the fact that the Crimson plays only nine games this season instead of the usual 10.

Although he doesn't feel cheated by the missed game--"It doesn't matter to me," he claims--Santiago would like to play another contest, especially to make up for the Penn fiasco.

"We're better than that," the affable Computer Science major believes. "We made mistakes we've never made before, and I really think that if we played close to our potential we would have beaten them."

"We beat ourselves, they didn't beat us," he added.

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