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Before Cornell back-up quarterback Dave Dase hooked up with wide receiver Shaun Hawkins for a last-minute Hail Mary touchdown pass last Saturday in Ithaca, the Harvard football team looked for all the world as if it was about to assume sole leadership of the Ivy race.
As it was, the Big Red rode two late scores to a 29-17 victory and a 2-0 Ivy mark. Harvard, Princeton, Penn, and Brown are bunched behind the Red with one league loss apiece.
While Harvard let a wonderful opportunity slip away Saturday, the promising Crimson is certainly far from eliminated in the Ivy race this year.
Only twice since 1970 (Penn in '84 and '86) has the Ivy champion concluded its league campaign with an undefeated mark. And with Cornell still facing tough road trips to Brown (this weekend), Yale and Princeton, the Red will have a quite difficult road to a spotless mark.
On the other hand, only once since 1963 has the Ivy champion had more than one loss--in 1982, when Harvard, Dartmouth and Penn shared the league with 5-2 marks.
For the Crimson to claim at least a share of the league honors for the first time since 1983, it will probably have to play undefeated ball between now and the end of the season.
Captain Kevin Dulsky thinks it can be done. "We'll come back and win all of our games and see what happens," Dulsky said after the tough loss to Cornell. "Cornell's got to win all the rest of their games to win [the title]."
Still, with victories over Harvard and Penn under its belt, the Big Red have to be odds-on favorites to capture its first title since 1971, Ed Marinaro's final year in Ithaca.
Yowee..... Lost Saturday in both the frenzy of Cornell's comeback and the routine of his excellence was the best performance yet by Harvard quarterback Tom Yohe. The junior QB threw for 288 yards (seventh best all-time) and two touchdowns
Yohe has now hit Harvard's top-ten in an unprecidented three consecutive weeks. Before this season, the all-time single game passing list contained no more than two entries from any single year.
Additionally, Yohe is already zeroing in on a number of Harvard season records. In only four games, Yohe has completed 65 of 127 passes for 963 yards, nine touchdowns, and six interceptions.
Compare those numbers with the all-time Crimson marks of 112 completions (Jim Stoeckel, 1973), 208 attempts (Steckel, 1973) 1575 yards (Larry Brown, 1978), and 16 touchdowns (Milt Holt, 1974), and you can see that Yohe is on target to rewrite the record book well before Harvard rolls into New Haven on November 21.
Yohe is currently only 47 yards shy of 10th place on the Harvard singleseason yardage list. If the signalcaller were to maintain his 241 yards per game average this Saturday against Dartmouth (if anything a conservative estimate given the Big Green's sorry defense), Yohe would rest in seventh place after only five games of the season.
Bad Boys: Once again last Saturday, Harvard was hurt severely by penalties. Coming into the game with the high three-game total of 23 penalties for 207 yards, the Crimson was hit by yellow flags 13 times for 94 yards.
Not only that, but many of the penalties came at absolutely crucial junctures of the game. Consider some of the most outstanding examples:
Early in the first quarter, Harvard seemed to have stopped the Red at the Harvard 34 when a third-down pass fell incomplete. But the Crimson was whistled for pass interference, and Cornell was handed a first-and-10 on the 18. The Red couldn't advance further, but were now in field goal range and kicker Dave Quarles converted a 39-yarder for the first points of the game.
Later that period, Crimson linebacker Richard Mau came up with an interception deep in Cornell territory. But Harvard was ruled off-sides on the play, and the interception--which would have been only Harvard's fourth of the year--was negated.
With the game tied in the third period, Cornell was facing a third-and-23 from its own 23. QB Aaron Sumida's pass fell incomplete, but once again the Harvard backfield was called for pass interference, and the Red got an automatic first down.
Perhaps the most costly Harvard penalty of all came in the final minutes of play following the Crimson safety which drew Cornell to within two points. Harvard elected to kickoff on its free kick, and Bruce Jacob's first attempt sailed to the Cornell 30 and was returned only six yards.
But a Crimson kick-coverer was ruled off-sides on the play, and Jacob had to kick it again from the 15. This kick was considerably shorter, and after a longer return the Red started its crucial drive just across midfield at the Harvard 49. Three plays later, Dase's Hail Mary ruined the Crimson's day.
Receiver Recipient: Cornell wideout Hawkins, who caught two touchdown passes Saturday--including Dase's Hail Mary--was named Ivy League Player of the week.
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