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By Julio R. Varela

Last year against Cornell in Ithaca, N.Y., the Harvard football team led for most of the game. The Big Red, however, came back and defeated the Crimson, 29-17.

When the Big Red visited The Stadium last week, Harvard led for most of the game. The Cornellians mounted another comeback and came away with another win.

After last year's loss to Cornell, Harvard faced a must-win situation. If the Crimson had any thoughts of winning the Ivy League title, it would have to win the rest of its league games.

November 21, 1987, The Game, Yale-Harvard, the Ivy title. Harvard 14, Yale 10.

Mission accomplished.

This year, Harvard (1-3 overall, 1-1 Ivy) is in the same situation. The defending Ivy League champs cannot afford to lose another league game if they wish to keep the Ivy trophy in Cambridge another year.

Today in Hanover, N.H., at 12:30 p.m. (ESPN, WHRB, 95.3), Harvard plays Dartmouth in a traditional battle of Ivy League rivals. Harvard's quest for another Ivy title can begin or end today.

Is it mission impossible for the Crimson?

"We have to battle it all the way," Harvard Coach Joe Restic said. "We are where we were last year. I think it will be a battle down to the wire. If we lose another one, it's pretty much over."

With both first-place Penn and second-place Princeton playing non-Ivy games this weekend, Harvard has an opportunity to move into a tie with the Tigers and gain a half-game on the Quakers.

Fortunately for the Crimson, the Big Green (1-3, 0-1) isn't having a stellar season. Dartmouth's only victory was a 24-3 pounding of Davidson, not the most dominant of football teams in Division I-AA.

Second-year Dartmouth Coach Buddy Teevens would also like to forget last year's game against Harvard. The Big Green fumbled and bumbled, losing to the Crimson, 42-3, at The Stadium. In that game, Harvard running back Tony Hinz gained 152 yards on 12 rushes, including a 73-yd touchdown sprint.

Then there's Crimson quarterback Tom Yohe, who threw for three touchdowns and 237 yards. Against the Green in 1986, Yohe--in his first varsity start--rushed for 120 yards and threw for 106.

"I'm hoping he misses the bus," Teevens said of Yohe. "He can hurt you running the football, as a drop-back passer or as a sprint-out passer. What we hope to do is contain him. But you also have to be concerned about their running game."

Offensively, the Green is led by the Johnson-Morton connection. Dartmouth quarterback Mark Jonhson has collected 808 yards passing. Most of those yards come courtesy of Craig Morton, the Ivy's best receiver. In his career, Morton has over 2000 career receiving yards.

While the Harvard offensive attack will light up the scoreboard if Yohe and Co. can pick apart the Big Green defense, Harvard's defense, after allowing only 241 yards against Cornell, may have begun to mature at the right time.

Crimson linebackers Greg Ubert and Brian Burns combined for 29 tackles against the Big Red. The Harvard defensive line has sacked opposing passers 16 times.

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