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Bright Future for QB Giardi

Football Notebook

By Josie Karp

What awe-inspiring insights came out of Harvard's 21-16 victory over Columbia on Saturday?

Columbia will be lucky to double its win total from last season, a feat which would bring the Lions a grand total of two wins.

Harvard was very lucky to escape the Stadium with a win.

So, not much can be learned about the team's overall potential, but the game offered much upon which speculation can now be based.

The most entertaining speculation has to be about sophomore quarterback Mike Giardi. On Saturday, Giardi became the first sophomore signal caller ever to start a season-opener for Coach Joe Restic. He didn't disappoint Restic, throwing for two TD's and scrambling for another.

Tick-Tock

No one should be saying that by virtue of his success last week Giardi is destined to become the greatest quarterback in Harvard football history.

But Giardi does have one thing going for him that no other Restic-coached quarterback has had: time. Three years. Twenty-nine more starts. Time.

Injuries? Forget about them for the moment. Common sense? Forget about that for now, too.

Giardi has the time to rewrite the Harvard record books. Right now, just about every Harvard quarterbacking record belongs to Tom Yohe '89. Yohe did not get his first start until the fifth game of his sophomore season.

It's too early to start drawing comparisons between Yohe and Giardi.

That said, here they are:

Spread Giardi's 12-completion, 24-attempt, 174-yard performance over three seasons and he breaks the records for most attempts, completions, net yards gained, touchdown passes, most plays and most total yards.

Now, back to reality.

Can They Catch?: Colby Maher's third quarter touchdown reception on Saturday held more significance than just providing what turned out to be the winning score.

Before Maher's grab, the Crimson had gone more than a year without throwing a touchdown to a wideout.

Rob Hirsch proved to be Giardi's favorite target on Saturday; the two connected four times for 86 yards and one touchdown.

Different Strokes: It was only one game, but it looks like offense has returned to Cambridge, at least more offense than was seen around these parts last year. In its first game of the season, the Crimson threw 25 times, once more than it did in any game last season.

Also in marked contrast to last year, Harvard did not commit one turnover. In 1990, the Crimson averaged more than three giveaways a game.

Upset City

What would have been the biggest Ivy League upset of all was a washout when Harvard held on against Columbia last week, but there was still excitement elsewhere around the Ancient Eight.

At Princeton, the Tigers shut out preseason favorite Cornell, 18-0. The Big Red lost the game and the foundation of its offense as tailbacks John McNiff and Scott Oliaro went down to injuries. Oliaro is out indefinitely and McNiff is a question mark for this weekend. Without those two, forget about Cornell's chances to repeat as Ivy League champions.

Tiger running back Keith Elias outshined both of Cornell's rushing threats, netting 110 yards on the ground. With that effort, Elias beat out Giardi for sophomore of the week honors.

Dartmouth won an opener for the first time in eight years, as it downed host Penn 21-15. Yale was the other winner in the first weekend of Ivy League action, shutting down Brown's frenzied offensive attack. Eli running back Chris Kouri ran away with offensive player of the week honors, rushing for 161 yards on 17 carries.

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