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You Wouldn't Have Expected This in Your Wildest Dreams

Football Notebook

By Michael R. Grunwald

Harvard and Brown combined for seven points in their Big Losses to the Big Green and the Big Red two weeks ago.

Against Dartmouth, Harvard squeaked out zero points and 112 total yards, its lowest total in Coach Joe Restic's 20-year career. The Bruins weren't much better against Cornell, managing only one touchdown.

So when these two non-powerhouses met Saturday at The Stadium, you probably wouldn't have expected Brown to roll up 37 points. You definitely wouldn't have expected Brown to roll up 37 points and lose.

"If you told me we were going to have to [score 52 points] today to win, I would have said there's just no way that can happen," a relieved Restic said.

"I didn't think it would take that many points to beat Harvard," said Brown Coach Mickey Kwiatkowski.

You probably wouldn't have expected Harvard reserve running back Kendrick Joyce to average 34.5 yards per carry. You definitely wouldn't have expected Joyce to average 34.5 yards per carry and place second on the Crimson. Expect again: Colby Maher carried once for a 35-yard TD.

After the Crimson defense had surrendered 133, 189 and 222 yards rushing to Princeton's Erick Hamilton, Cornell's John McNiff and Dartmouth's Shon Page, respectively, you wouldn't have expected Harvard to hold All-Ivy tailback Nick Badalato to 14 yards on the ground. After the Harvard D had held Dartmouth to 25 passing yards, you wouldn't have expected Brown reserve QB Mike Lenkaitis to shatter school records with 353 yards and four TD's through the air on 30-for-55 passing.

"It was an unbelievable game, an odd game," Restic said.

"The game's a blur to me," said Kwiatkowski.

But life's like that. Strange things happen. Predictions go awry.

"That's the way it goes," Restic mused. "That's football. That's why we call it a game and you have to play to find out who's going to win or lose."

A Wild Week: How weird was last weekend? Neither Lenkaitis nor Bruins split end Rodd Torbert--who also entered the Brown record books with 156 yards receiving, 11 receptions in the game and 62 receptions in a season--received Ivy League Offensive Player of the Week honors. Not even close.

Cornell number-two tailback Scott Oliaro had a pretty decent season Saturday in the Big Red's 41-31 victory over Yale in New Haven. The junior rumbled, rambled and rolled for a league-record 288 yards rushing on 35 carries, a school-record 395 all-purpose yards and four scores.

Oliaro's exploits led the Big Red into a first-place tie with Dartmouth at 4-1 in the league. Unless the Big Green and Big Red falter in their final contests, The Game on November 17 will be played for bragging rights, not a share of the title.

The Big Green kept pace by dropping Columbia in Hanover, N.H., Saturday, 34-20. Princeton joined Penn at 2-3 in the Ivies by bouncing the Quakers by the same score.

A Priore Reasoning: Before the season began, Harvard Coach Joe Restic said his primary problem was "stabilizing the quarterback position." He wasn't kidding.

Tom Priore beat out eight other signal-callers to claim the starting job for the Crimson's season opener with Columbia, only to lose the position with an abysmal 2-for-9 passing performance in Harvard's defense-dominated 9-6 victory.

Enter Adam Lazarre-White, who promptly won Ivy Player of the Week honors in the Crimson's 26-0 hammering of lowly Northeastern. But the new starter's fortunes quickly took a 180-degree turn for the worse, and so did the Harvard offense. Every week, Restic complained about Harvard's inability to move the ball through the air. Every week, Restic complained about Lazarre-White's tendency to take costly sacks.

After the Crimson offense scored three points in its last two games, Restic had seen enough. Lazarre-White had been knocked around enough. The O had stalled enough. Re-enter Priore after a six-week sideline stay.

The senior's statistics were unremarkable: 5-for-11 passing for 85 yards, one TD pass and one interception returned for a TD, 16 carries for 74 yards. But you can't argue with a full deck of points.

"Their quarterback was awesome," said Kwiatkowski, a somewhat excitable sort. "Great move to start that kid. He's a good one."

Who Is Sackman?: Harvard linebacker and All-America candidate Joe Gordian had one of his quietest afternoons of the season Saturday, recording only five tackles. However, number 56 did blast through the Brown line to wrap up Lenkaitis for an LT-esque nine-yard loss. Gordian now has 10 sacks this season, one shy of the Harvard record set by Don Peterson in 1988.

Metaphor of the Week: Harvard cornerback Marty Bowen's description of his 65-yard punt return to the Brown 10-yard line.

"If anybody else had any sort of juice, they would have taken it in for six," Bowen recalled. "I couldn't shift down. I was trying to, but I was just grinding my gears there."

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