The similarities it bore to last year's Harvard-Penn contest were as weird as the men's room at Lamont--a sluggish game, that the Crimson dominated throughout, an injury to Jim Kubacki on a slick tartan surface upon which he claims he enjoys playing, a final score which doesn't quite do justice to Harvard's superiority.
A year ago it was 21-3--Saturday in Philadelphia it was 20-8--and considering the fact that the Quakers committed the ungodly number of nine turnovers (six interceptions, three fumbles), the 12-point margin is certainly a generous one.
There was, however, one major difference (in addition, that is, to the fact that the Crimson traveled to Philly via plane instead of bus). After last year's triumph, Harvard stood at 4-0 in the Ivies, and the best was yet to come. After Saturday's win, the record rests at 4-2, a full game behind the 5-1 marks of both Brown and Yale, and if Joe Restic could ever order up a miracle, how about a combination platter of Harvard over Yale and Columbia over Brown next weekend.
While the former is entirely possible, the latter is as likely as recognizing the slide identifications in the Fine Arts 13 hourly, and as a result, the Crimson's role has basically been reduced to that of a spoiler.
Like the Ol'Days
In a way, it's like 1974. Yale comes to The Stadium a game up on the Crimson seeking to nail down a championship, except that this time it's only a slice of a championship courtesy of a team from Providence.
None of which has anything to do with either the game on Saturday or Kubacki's injury. First the game.
As has been the case for the last month or so, the Crimson offense proved functional for a quarter, with this 15-minute segment occurring after the first period and before halftime (those who just thought second quarter are correct).
And, as was the case every time Harvard scored on Saturday, the opening drive was initiated inside the Penn 25-yard line and made possible by a Quaker turnover (which, incidentally, is on today's breakfast menu).
First Tommy Joyce halted Penn's lone legitimate drive of the game by intercepting a Bob Graustein pass on his own 18 late in the first quarter and returning it 44 yards.
After a change of quarters and a 35-yard Harvard drive, Mike Lynch initiated the scoring with a 20-yard field goal. Lynch is perfect from both inside the 30 and outside the 36 this year; he hasn't missed from the former and hasn't connected from the latter.
Moments later, Gary Taubes recovered a fumbled Penn pitchout on the Quakers' 15, and four plays later, Kubacki scored the first of his two touchdowns by rolling two yards into the endzone. Kubacki, incidentally, did manage to pick up 70 yards in total offense before retiring for the afternoon. He needs but 58 against Yale, should he play, to become Harvard's all-time total offense leader. But more on that later.
Before, Penn had to commit one more blunder, a Craig Renfrew fumble which Bob Baggott, who, like the entire defense, played another great game, a point which should be obvious by now, and who has to be the best defensive end in the Winthrop-I entry, if not the entire league, recovered on the Penn 23.
This time Kubacki needed only three plays to score, doing so on an eight-yard sprint with 3:34 left in the half.