After Waiting For a Decade, Title Arrives

Every time the Harvard football team has had a hurdle to leap this season, it has soared.

The Crimson finally crossed the finish line Saturday as it dominated the Pennsylvania Quakers 33-0 to clinch at least a share of the Ivy League title for the first time since 1987.

Harvard (8-1, 6-0 Ivy) controlled play on both sides of the ball. The defense held Penn (5-4, 4-2) to just 144 total yards--a paltry 25 of which came on the ground--and sophomore quarterback Rich Linden led the offense to its fifth 30-plus point total of the season, completing 18-of-27 passes for 218 yards and two touchdowns.

"It was as thorough a domination as I've been involved in," said Penn Coach Al Bagnoli. "I don't think anybody thought the score was going to be 33-0."

The Crimson defense prevented the Quakers from mustering a first down on any of its first six possessions, as Penn running back Jim Finn was repeatedly unable to gain yardage on typically wide running attempts.

And when the Quakers finally were able to mount an offensive charge, late in the second quarter, Harvard's defense came up with perhaps the biggest play of the game.


With Harvard leading 14-0, Penn mounted a scoring drive that landed it at the Harvard 27-yard line. But facing a fourth-and-four, Bagnoli pulled the trigger and it backfired.

Penn quarterback Matt Rader stepped to his right threw a swing pass to Finn. But just as Finn was closing his hands on the ball, sophomore strong safety Aron Natale delivered a hit that popped the ball loose and into the hands of junior corner Glenn Jackson. Jackson, a track star in high school, hurdled a couple of Quakers and darted 67 yards into the end zone.

"That play was a big momentum swing," said senior defensive tackle Chris Smith. "They would have had a first down and maybe even more. It was what we needed."

Once the Crimson took a 20-0 lead following Jackson's touchdown, the Quakers never threatened to make it a game. As is has all season, the offense pulled out big plays when it needed to.

The biggest may have been a 38-yard pass from Linden to senior wideout Jared Chupaila that set up the Crimson's second touchdown. The play, which started with Harvard at the Penn 43 leading 7-0, was a play-action followed by a fake reverse to sophomore wide receiver Terence Patterson.

When Linden finally got the pass off after the smoke and mirrors, it found Chupalia near the five-yard line. Chupaila snared the ball despite being held by Penn safety Mike Ferguson, who was whistled for pass interference on the play.

The catch set up the first of two successful fourth-down goal-line plays the Crimson ran Saturday. Both times Harvard's offense set up in a hard run formation and passed to an uncovered tight end in the end zone. The first was to junior Chris Eitzmann, and the second--which came with Harvard leading 27-0 in the fourth--landed in the hands of senior Tom Giardi.

Harvard's offense was strikingly efficient, as the Crimson converted on all four of its fourth-down opportunities and nearly half its third downs.

An efficient offense, combined with a stifling defense, has been the hallmark of this team all season, particularly in its Ivy matchups. Harvard's defense has allowed just four touchdowns in its seven Ivy matchups so far.

Harvard will try to continue its dominance of the Ancient Eight next weekend when it takes on longtime-rival Yale. If the Crimson pull it out against the Bulldogs--who enter The Game winless in league play--it will mark the first unblemished league record in team history.Crimson PhotosDavid. S. TangAN OLD-FASHIONED WHUPPIN': (Top) Sophomore CHRIS NOWINSKI downs Penn's BRIAN BONANNO as a mob of Crimson tacklers survey the scene. (Left) Junior JOE MATTSON evades a Quaker defender.