Its title hopes jarred last week by Dartmouth, the Crimson football team sinks to the role of spoiler, as it tackles the University of Pennsylvania, a twelve point favorite and unquestionably the most powerful eleven in the Ivy League. The Quakers, fresh from their astounding tie with Navy, have the speed, depth, and experience to make the Crimson's final bid for the first division a failure.
Last Saturday Penn pulled off a last-minute field goal to draw abreast of the Midshipmen 22 to 22, calling attention to itself as a significant power in the East. Capable of giving an even fight to a nationally-ranked eleven. Penn, on paper, at least, should not have to worry too much over the twice-defeated Crimson.
The Quaker backfield is blatantly reminiscent of the Yale quartet which two years ago led the 54-0 slaughter over the varsity. Headed by Fred Doelling, 13th in the nation in rushing with 384 yards, it has the fastest set of running backs in the league.
Operating from coach Steve Sebo's double wing-T, Chuck Hanlon, Dave Coffin, and Larry Purdy have the talent to shred enemy defenses almost at will, and alternate quarterback George Koval's passes make their job considerably easier.
The backfield is symbolic of Penn's success this year. Composed entirely of seniors, the group has worked together for three seasons cision generally absent in Ivy League play.
The line, averaging eight pounds less than the Crimson's similarly utilizes the teamwork gained in previous seasons, and to date has been irreproachably limiting its opponents to 512 yards on the ground. This is 145 yards better than the Crimson forwards, considered an extremely tough defensive unit in its own right.
1959 is definitely the year of fruition for Sebo's charges. Victims of outrageous fortune in the past, they have finally matured into a confident and destructive unit, unburdened with injuries, and strong enough to wreck havoc on all their remaining opposition.
The hope for the Crimson, however, lies not unreasonably in Penn's confidence. The Quakers are in much the same position held by the Crimson last week preceding the Dartmouth game.
The obviously superior team, it may well underestimate the Crimson's strength and ease up for a respite from the grueling contest with the Midides. More or less on the bottom of the league, the Crimson could do itself a tremendous service by winning. To win, the team must play football vastly superior to what it has shown in its earlier games, and the encouraging factor is that the team is certainly capable of such improvement. To rise to the challenge and knock off the recognized giant of the League would give an incalculable lift to the team's confidence and could set the stage for a belated rally to the top.
Against Dartmouth, the varsity showed no improvement. In fact, the spirit seemed to reach a low point for the season, as crucial blocks again and again fell down, and the needed yardage was missed. This kind of play is not indicative of the team's potential, and must be stopped if there is to be improvement.
Physically, the Crimson has never been in better shape. With the return of third-string center Tony Watters, coach Yovicsin has three entire teams at full strength for the game.
A starting backfield of Charlie Ravenel, Sam Halaby, Albie Cullen, and triple-threat Chet Boulris gives Yovicsin the material to give Penn a very tight fight. These men, though, will be up against the toughest line they'll see all season.
If Ravenel and company are to move the ball for any distance, the line must put on its best performance of the year.
On the basis of past performances, the Crimson is definitely the underdog. Being the underdog, they might possibly win