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Doug Anderson Hopes to Hit Paydirt on Saturday

By Jeremy L. Mccarter

The Game.

It means many things to many people.

For some, it's the latest installment of one of the oldest rivalries in college football. For others, it's another opportunity to prove Crimson supremacy over its New Haven counterpart.

For senior Doug Anderson, it's the big payoff.

"This is my ninth season playing football," the 6'3", 160-pound defensive end says, "and all of the work I've ever put into [football] is going to be worth it for the second half of the Yale game."

"Come [tomorrow] night, the only thing I've got left to do is play," he says. "I don't have to worry about lifting, I don't have to worry about meetings. I'm ending my football career doing what I've spent all this time getting ready for--to go out on the field and play."

But The Game has been a long time in coming for Anderson.

A three-sport athlete and valedictorian of his senior class at Barrington (III.) High School, Anderson wasn't highly recruited by Harvard.

"I came to Harvard not sure how good I was--you've got all of these studs from high school and I was just an average Joe," he says. "I came in thinking I was out of my league."

But during his freshman season, a starter at defensive end broke his finger and was unable to play. One of Anderson's coaches converted him to that position, where he has played ever since.

Two consecutive 3-7 seasons followed for Anderson and the Crimson. In the meantime, he was Quadded (he and his friends joke, "At least we live in Currier and not Cabot."), he declared himself an engineering concentrator, and he had the Harvard experience of a lifetime.

He lived in the 10-man.

Asked to describe life in Currier's infamous 10-man suite in a word, Anderson responds, "Numbing."

"Things don't bother you anymore," he explains. "Freshman year, I was arguing with my roommate about leaving shampoo in the shower, and now people are clogging the toilet and leaving stuff all over the floor. Or you come home at 2 a.m. and your roommate's sitting on the couch with some girl and you say, 'Uh, I'm going to bed.'"

"By the end of the year you've seen it all," he says.

The current year has brought several changes for Anderson. Not only does he have a new room, he's also playing for a new head coach in Tim Murphy.

"I really like him," Anderson says. "One of the things that kind of haunts you in an Ivy League school is, 'Is this for real?' You watch TV on New Year's Day, and you say that that's real football."

"Now [Murphy] comes in and changes things up a little, and you realize that everything we do is what Ohio State, Michigan and Florida State would do," Anderson says. "There's an excitement because you're a big-time college football player."

"I've got one more game left, then I'm a civilian, so to speak," he adds. "But I can walk away from football saying I played real college football."

As his days as a "civilian" quickly approach, Anderson looks back on this year's victory over Dartmouth as the highlight of his career. Anderson registered seven tackles in the upset win.

"When we were up 35-12 with four or five minutes left, I almost started crying on the bench because knew we were going to win," he says. "[Dartmouth] is a good program and we're just beating the snot out of them. We had never beaten them [in my days here]."

"You just work so hard for some thing, and then you finally get it," he adds.

So while Harvard and Yale are gearing up for Saturday's showdown the 21-year-old Anderson is preparing for life after football.

"Coming into college, I was an individual," he says. "But now I think with pride that if people ask me who I am, I'm going to say I'm a Harvard football player."

"You wear that football jacket around, and you know you're part of a good group of guys," he continues. "I think that's what I'm going to miss the most."

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