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Football Notebook

By Jay K. Varma

The Harvard football team returns to Ivy League play this Saturday, traveling to Ithaca, N.Y. to face Cornell.

And although the Big Red has not played stellar football this season, Cornell is always tough, particulary on the artificial turf of Schoellkopf Field.

The Crimson (1-3, 1-0) is mired in a three-game losing streak and desperately needs a boost.

Like the return to action of sophomore quarterback Mike Giardi, perhaps?

Well, that remains to be seen. Giardi has completed 31 of 57 attempts (.544) for 524 yards and four touchdowns. Giardi has thrown only two interceptions and has also run the ball 37 times for 84 yards and three touchdowns.

'Lerch'ing Forward

Entering last weekend's contest against Brown, Princeton boasted the top-rated defense in the Ivies. But judging by Saturday's game, you never would have guessed it.

After a wild and frenzied 59-37 pasting of the Bears, the Tigers' rank dropped to No. 3 in defense. Its offense, in turn, jumped to No. 1 in passing. And with good reason.

The Tigers took a page out of the Bears' book, putting on an impressive aerial display, highlighted by junior Mike Lerch's record-breaking day.

Lerch, a wide-receiver from Mantua, N.J., snagged nine passes for a total of-yes-370 yards, including four touchdowns. The junior shattered the NCAA Division I-AA record for yards receiving and all-purpose yards (463).

Indeed, Lerch provided the spark that helped Princeton rattle off 33 unanswered points to come back from a 37-26 deficit late in the third quarter.

Lerch wasn't the only player to make his mark on history on Saturday, however.

Bears' receiver Rodd Torbert racked up 188 yards, just enough to make him Brown's all-time receiving leader with 1523 total yards.

And Tigers' quarterback Chad Roghair recorded the best passing day in Princeton history. The toprated passer went 13-of-22 for 401 yards and five touchdowns.

Columbia Wins!

Columbia is on pace for a record year.

The Lions pounced on Pennsylvania, 20-14, Saturday, to break a six-game losing streak, dating back to last year, and a 30-year winless streak against the Quakers.

Columbia has already tied last year's victory total (and 1989's), and with six games remaining, the Lions stand a good chance of recording a second 'W'.

Saturday's game was highlighted by linebacker Des Werthman's stellar 26-tackle effort. Sixteen of Werthman's takedowns were unassisted, two were for losses and one forced a fumble.

Palo Alto Blues

Looking back on Saturday's game against Stanford, Cornell Coach Jim Hofher has to be happy about a few things.

The Big Red got a free trip to California. His star running back has returned to the lineup. No one got injured. And heck, what's a 50-point thrashing between friends.

Well, maybe he's not that happy.

Stanford surprised no one on Saturday when it covered a 45-point spread to pummel Cornell, 56-6, in Palo Alto, California. The game, to honor the 125th anniversary of Cornell and the 100th of Stanford, should never have happened.

The Cardinal dominated from start to finish. Cornell's lone touchdown was scored by Captain John McNiff, who returned to the Big Red after a two-week layoff. The point-after was blocked.

For Cornell, the best part about the game is that the future can only get brighter.

Senior running back Scott Oliaro may return on Saturday against Harvard. With McNiff and Oliaro back, the Big Red might regain some of the offensive firepower it has lacked since the beginning of the season.

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