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HANOVER, N.H.--Finally, things were coming together for the Harvard offensive unit.
Taking over on its own 3-yard line late in the third quarter, facing a 17-0 deficit, the Crimson struck quickly with the precision of a San Francisco 49ers-type attack. Harvard QB Adam Lazarre-White exploited a missed assignment by the Dartmouth secondary to hit Robb Hirsch for a 25-yard gain. On the next play, fullback Matt Johnson slashed over the right side, broke two tackles and rumbled down the right sideline for 34 yards before being knocked out of bounds at the Dartmouth 38-yard line.
"I thought Johnson was going to go all the way on that run down the sideline," Harvard Coach Joe Restic said.
But Restic's dreams of a comeback were fleeting. The Crimson offense slipped back into the stumbling, bumbling style of play that characterized its efforts throughout its loss to the Big Green here at Memorial Field Saturday. Hirsch's reception and Johnson's run on that drive accounted for 59 of the Crimson's 112 total yards.
Johnson was dropped for a one-yard loss on the next play. Lazarre-White had no room to escape from nose tackle Pete Chapman, who registered a five-yard sack: And on 3rd-and-17, Restic reached into his bag of tricks to pull out the old end-around, which added only two yards to receiver Rodney Taylor's careerrushing stats.
On came Harvard punter Derek Lewis, who hasspent more time on the field this season than theoffense or the defense.
"I wish I knew what the problem was. We justdidn't get it done on offense," Harvard offensivelineman Doug Rosenberry said. "We can't expect thedefense to win every game like they won the lasttwo."
But any chance in the Ivy League went flyingpast the Crimson as wildly and quickly asLazarre-White's first pass attempt of the day,which zinged five yards behind a wide-open SeppiWinkler.
Harvard had pulled out victories in the lasttwo weeks behind the defense and special teams.But not this week. Jokes abounded about how theCrimson was in scoring position whenever Dartmouthhad the ball deep in its territory or attempted apunt.
But by the end of the game, with its defensebeing shut out for a change, Harvard's offensiveineptitude was no laughing matter. The Crimson hadbeen victimized by the big play again,surrendering 49- and 28-yard TD runs to runningback Shon Page, as well as a 79-yard Page trekthat set up the Big Green's final score.
"I don't think the long runs were thedifference in the ballgame," Restic said. "It'sthe fact that we weren't able to generate anythingand match the runs or match the points, and thenthe whole thing changes. We had to get back inthere and score and we didn't get that done."
The statistics were all-too-sad: seven firstdowns, 1.8 yards-per-play, 1-for-16 on third downconversions, 0-for-2 on fourth down conversions.In the first half for the Crimson, it was almostmonotonous--two runs, an incomplete pass or sackand a punt. Harvard had the ball nine times in thehalf, putting together two fumbles and sixthree-downs-and-punts.
The play-calling was as imaginative as thefinal score. The Crimson passed six times out of29 first-half plays, completing one.
"It's not my job to second-guess the coaches,"Lazarre-White said. "The bottom line is you can'trun it if you can't throw it, and you can't throwit if you can't run it. We couldn't run it today,so we didn't even try to throw until the secondhalf."
And when the Crimson did try to throw, it wasthe same old story from the last few weeks--notime for Lazarre-White to set up and throw and noopen receivers to throw to. All too often,Lazarre-White was forced to take the sack becausethere were no secondary receivers--safetyvalves--to dish the ball to.
"I won't say we can't pass," Restic said, "butwe sure didn't today."
"We tried to identify from formations what theywere going to do out there," Dartmouth Coach BuddyTeevens said. "Our defensive staff did a great jobpreparing our guys and our guys digested it well."
The feast continued on the field, where the BigGreen throroughly digested what was left of theinjury-ridden Harvard offense, which was missingthree linemen and leading receiver Andy Lombara.
According to Restic, replacing the injuredsenior starters is the key for a successfulconclusion to the season.
"Our problem is simple. We need some peopleback," the 20-year coaching veteran said.
But while sitting on the bench, those injuredseniors saw their final chance for an Ivy Leaguetitle reduced to a mere glimmer of hope.Big Green, 17-0 in Hanover, N.H.
HARVARD 0-0-0-0--0Dartmouth 7-7-3-0--17
D--Page 49 run (Durkin kick)
D--Page 28 run (Durkin kick)
D--FG Durkin 21
Rushing: H--Johnson 12-60, Smyers 8-10,Freeman 3-9, Joyce 2-6, Hirsch 3-5, Taylor 1-2,Lazarre-White 5-(-62); D--Page 23-222, Rosier8-13, Brzica 8-8, Martin 3-2, Koldyke 1-(-1), Peck3-(-5).
Passing: H--Lazarre-White 7-18-0-82;D--Peck 2-6-1-17, Brzica 2-6-1-8.
Receiving: H--Hirsch 2-33, Winkler 2-24,Maher 1-20, Bell 1-3, Taylor 1-2; D--Gilbert 2-15,Demeree 1-6, Swanson 1-4.
Field Goals Missed: none
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