In Search of the Last Touchdown Pass

The Football Notebook

When the Harvard football team takes the field Saturday, it will have been exactly three years since a Crimson wide receiver last caught a touchdown pass.

Three years.

Not since split end Wally Rutecki '82 caught a 25-yd. touchdown pass with 1:38 remaining to play in an Oct. 2, 1982, 17-13 loss at Army has a Crimson wide receiver hooked up with a Crimson quarterback for a scoring strike.

In the three years since, Harvard halfbacks have tallied 11 touchdown receptions, Harvard tight ends have caught six touchdown passes, Harvard fullbacks have accounted for five touchdown receptions and Harvard wingbacks have made one touchdown catch.

Harvard wide receivers--or split ends, if you will--have accounted for none. Zero.


Moreover, not one of the five wide outs Harvard currently carries on its squad has ever caught a pass of any kind in a varsity game.

And despite all the talk of Harvard's much vaunted Multiflex being the superior wide-open offense of the Ivy League, the problem seems confined solely to Cambridge.

Wide receivers at Brown and Cornell caught touchdown passes last Saturday, wide outs at Columbia and Yale caught scoring strikes two weeks ago, and wide recievers at Dartmouth, Penn and Princeton caught touchdowns in their squads' last or second-to-last games a year ago.

* * *

Critics of Joe Restic's fabled Multiflex offense are beginning to wonder just how much respect opponents are giving to the split end position.

Opposing defenses, perhaps, are beginning to key instead on the running game of fullback Robert Santiago (see below) while virtually ignoring the deep threat. Over the past three years, it seems, this deep threat has hardly been a threat at all.

Multiflex defenders might point out that passes are rarely completed to wide receivers because of the limited abilities of the passers and receivers, not because of a flaw in the offensive system.

But if the Multiflex is so flexible, why isn't it adjusting to fit the abilities of all 11 offensive players?

And if the offense is going to waste one player--which is virtually the case now--why should it waste a 170-lb. player who can't even block consistently well?

Just wondering.

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