Dartmouth's defensive unit was extremely aggressive. Ed Marinaro of Cornell, who rushed for an NCAA Division I-A record of 1,881 yards in 1971, says of the Big Green, "They were not very big—no one in the Ivies was very big. But they were very well coached, with very smart, swarming tacklers." When the two schools met on Nov. 14, Dartmouth held Marinaro to only 60 yards rushing, an amazing feat in light of the big back's career average of 174.6 yards a game, which still stands as the NCAA I-A record. Marinaro remembers one defender in particular—Murry Bowden. "He put one pop on me that was the hardest I had ever been hit...until I got to the pros."
Bowden, now a real estate developer living in Houston, captained the defense, playing "monster" or rover back—a free-lance type of position that enabled him to function as either a linebacker or defensive back. Although relatively small at 5'11" and 190 pounds, he was named first team All-America. Besides the team's contagious intensity, Bowden attributes much of Dartmouth's 1970 success to the coach's preparation. "Blackman was one of the first to introduce the computer into the game," says Bowden. "He didn't hesitate to scout other teams, and we would pick up certain tendencies and formations they would like to run in certain circumstances. Third-and-10, the ball's on the sideline—they're going to run a draw. And they would do it every single time—or nine times out of 10."
At Illinois, Blackman's teams were 29-36-1 over six seasons. He returned to the Ivies in 1977 as coach at Cornell. "I like the Ivy League," he said. "It's the only conference where the coaches are paid more than the players." But Blackman was unable to duplicate at Cornell his Dartmouth successes, and when he became ill during the 1982 season, he elected to retire. At that time he had 168 major college football victories. If his 34 junior college wins could be added, he would join the elite 200 club. In January 1987, he was elected to the National Football Foundation's College Football Hall of Fame.
Today, Blackman, 69, and his wife, Kay, live in Hilton Head, S.C., but Dartmouth football is never far away. Last year Blackman found himself in an awkward spot when he testified for Joe Yukica in the lawsuit Yukica brought to retain his coaching job at Dartmouth. " Joe Paterno, Jack Bicknell of Boston College and myself were the three coaches who were called to testify to Joe Yukica's competence as a coach," Blackman says. "I was in an embarrassing situation because I love Dartmouth so much. But when an old friend asks you to testify on something like this, you can't turn him down.
"The lawyer for Dartmouth was a former manager of the Dartmouth football team, Tommy Rath. He put Paterno on the stand, and the courtroom was very serious. A lot of people were there, and [Rath] said, ' Coach Paterno, before we get down to the business at hand, and as long as I have you under oath, I'd like to ask you one question. Did you really think you could beat that 1970 Dartmouth team?' The whole courtroom broke up, including the judge."