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The Dartmouth 'Shmen That Bamboozled the Harvard Band

Football Notebook

By M.d. Stankiewicz

The P.A. announcer begged. He grovelled. He threatened. He invoked Dartmouth Coach Buddy Teevens, Dartmouth President James O. Freedman, the Dartmouth police, even the Dartmouth groundskeeper.

The announcer repeated the messages ad nauseum during the Big Green's 17-0 obliteration of the Crimson. Stay off the field. Please stay off the field. Pretty, pretty please stay off the field.

In the past, the Dartmouth freshman class has always stormed the gridiron at halftime of the Harvard game. But Freedman's Dartmouth is a new Dartmouth, an "intellectual" Dartmouth with "alcohol policies" and "diversity." Times are a-changing.

When halftime descended on Memorial Field, the new order seemed to have won the day. Hordes of freshmen sporting green Dartmouth '94 shirts sat politely in their seats, waiting for the Harvard band to complete its rendition of "10,000 Men of Harvard." The Crimson band stepped into its shield formation around its white "VE," "RI" and "TAS" sheets.

And then he struck. One lone frosh, standing up for tradition. Eight thousand fans watched him begin his journey from the near corner of the Harvard end zone. They watched him dash past a drummer into the middle of the Veritas logo. They watched him snatch the "VE" in stride and make a beeline for the far corner of the Dartmouth end zone. They watched him disappear from the stadium as the security officers stood transfixed, too bewildered to give chase.

And then they went nuts. Totally nuts. It was a small sprint for a 'shmen, a giant leap for 'shmenkind. And it'll make a damn fine wall decoration.

Scoreboard Watching: With only three weekends remaining in the Ivy League season and the Crimson trailing three teams--Cornell, the Big Green and Yale--by one game, it's back to scoreboard-watching for Harvard. Dartmouth smothered the Crimson on its way to first place, and the Big Red and Elis were just as impressive in breaking out of a five-way snarl at the top of the league last week.

Cornell swamped Brown, 34-7, in Ithaca, N.Y. The Big Red broke open a close game in the second half with a touchdown run by Scott Oliaro--set up by a Chris Cochrane to Oliaro 32-yard pass--and a record 99-yard interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Mark Broderick. Brown's Mike Lenkaitis passed for 217 yards in the losing effort.

And the Elis claimed its first win in 10 years in Philadelphia, dumping Penn, 27-10. Touchdown runs by Jim Gouveia, Chris Kouri and Darin Kehler gave Yale a commanding 21-7 halftime lead.

Dartmouth has the inside track among the three, having beaten Cornell and Yale already. Remaining for the Big Green are Brown, Columbia and Princeton. Cornell and Yale face off against each other next Saturday in New Haven.

In non-race action in the Ivies, Columbia's Bruce Mayhew passed for 276 yards and one touchdown and added another score on the ground to lead the Lions to a 17-15 upset of Princeton in New York. Princeton pulled within two points on a Michael Lerch-to-Marin Gjaja TD pass on the option with 95 seconds remaining in the game, but the two-point conversion pass failed.

Locomo-Shon: The rebel frosh wasn't the only person embarrassing scads of Harvardians in the open field last Saturday. Dartmouth tailback Shon Page spent much of his afternoon in the Crimson secondary, enjoying the game of his life. For the Harvard defense, the altruistic pleasure of inflating Ivy rushers' stats is wearing a bit thin.

Three weeks ago against Cornell, the Crimson allowed Big Red tailback John McNiff to rumble for a personal-best 189 yards, including a 66-yarder for a TD. Last week against Princeton, Tigers tailback Eric Hamilton burned the Harvard D for 133 yards, including a 49-yard scoring sprint. Saturday, Page outdid them both, scooting for a 222 yards on 23 carries, including 28-and 49-yard TD jaunts.

Page's yardage total broke the Big Green record set by David Clark in 1988 against Penn. And Page's 79-yard dash to set up a Big Green field goal was the longest Dartmouth run from scrimmage since Clark ripped off 97-yarders against Princeton guessed it...Harvard that same season.

"They put so much pressure on you at the line, you figure you can break a couple," Page said. "Actually, I felt we had a lot more opportunities than we were able to capitalize on."

Ignore Page's three big gainers and he's left with a mediocre rushing afternoon in a 0-0 tie. But Page's trifecta of gamebreakers were a bit tough to ignore.

"That's the worst part," Harvard defensive end John Sparks said. "We're out there playing really well and then they pop a 75-yard run. I guess it's better than getting the ball shoved down your throat, but it's frustrating."

Secondary Successes: Maybe Harvard's offense has sputtered and died. But the Crimson's secondary is alive and well.

Last month, the quartet of cornerbacks Greg Belsher and Robert Santos and safeties Sean Koscho and Chris Pillsbury was burned for four long TD's by a big-play Holy Cross offense. Over the last two weeks, the secondary has been opposing quarterbacks' worst nightmare. Their stats: 35 attempts, nine completions, 103 yards, five interceptions. And remember--Harvard's blitz-obsessed defense leaves the DB's stranded in single coverage all afternoon long.

"We haven't been playing very good passing teams, but I'd like to think we've had something to do with that," said Koscho, who had a sixth interception called back against the Big Green.

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