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September 19, 1966
The Miracle
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September 19, 1966

Jitterbugging To A Bowl

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Things are looking up at Boston U. and Holy Cross, too. BOSTON U. has 23 returning lettermen and the finest group of sophomores Coach Warren Schmakel has ever had. Some of the youngsters, like Bob Bossert, a 235-pound defensive end, Cornerback Fred McNeilly, Guard Rick Lepore, 205, and Linebacker Cliff Burton, 200, will get to play right away, and the rest will give the Terriers the kind of depth they have not enjoyed in years. There are other encouraging signs. Tony Gallagher, a punishing 235-pound end, heads up a defensive line that averages 232 pounds, and Bob Kobus and Jim Thornton are back to quarterback Schmakel's double wing-T—that is, if they do not lose out to sophomore Joe Saurino, a slingshot passer who threw for 10 touchdowns as a freshman. With luck, BU might even be 7-3.

Holy Cross's hopes ride on Jack Lentz, a freewheeling quarterback who ran 802 yards for a school record as a sophomore and then sat out last year after a knee operation. Without Lentz, Coach Mel Massucco played Russian roulette with his quarterbacks, starting five different ones, and the Crusaders bumbled to seven losses. With Lentz in shape, the Holy Cross attack should come alive. Now all Massucco has to do is find some tackles to go with Ends Pete Kimener and Dick Krzyzek, Center Dick Grise and Middle Guard Glen Grieco.

At VILLANOVA, things cannot possibly be as bad for Coach Alex Bell as they were in 1965, when his defense could not stop anybody, the offensive linemen knocked down only their own runners and the Wildcats won just one game. For one thing, he has more players to call on, and 235-pound Tackle John Fry and two-way End Paul Sodaski, his best defenders, will get help from Richie Moore, an agile 6-foot-7, 285-pound sophomore tackle. Bell's offense, a combination of split T and I, will be more versatile, too. Quarterback Gerry Bellotti passes adequately, and the running will be better with fast sophomores Denny Kelly and Frank Boal, the kind who can go all the way, to assist holdover John Kolmer.

It is bicentennial time at RUTGERS, and the nicest present for Coach John Bateman would be some large and rambunctious interior linemen and a good passer to fluff up his tricky double wing T. But, alas, Bateman probably will have to make do with what little he has. End Jack Emmers is a big league receiver, offensive Tackle Ron Kenny, a 230-pounder, can hold his own and Linebacker Bob Schroeder is adequate. But Fred Eckert, the likely quarterback, is a scatter passer, and the running of Charley Mudie, Ralf Stegmann, Don Riesett and Rich Capria, as good as it is, will not be quite enough to hold off Princeton, Yale and Army, three of Rutgers' first four opponents.

It is no coincidence that when Dick Offenhamer quit at BUFFALO, the ambitious Bulls brought in Doc Urich, an assistant at Notre Dame under Ara Parseghian. Buffalo yearns to go big time, and Urich's wide-open style fits in. He has the quarterback for it, too. Mick Murtha, smart, quick and an accomplished passer, is so good that he chased Rick Wells and Nick Capuana, last year's quarterbacks, to halfback. And Murtha can throw to Split End Dick Ashley, who runs pro patterns. Soph Halfback Steve Svec, big, fast and strong, and Fullback Lee Jones are also just right for Urich's I and pro T. What's more, there are some fine linemen—like Tackle Bill Taylor, when he recovers from an August appendectomy, and Guard Ted Gibbons—to spring them loose. But the Bulls will have to score a lot. The defense is new and shaky.

If the Ivy League has a dark horse, it is CORNELL. Especially if new Coach Jack Musick, who learned from Dartmouth's Blackman, borrows a few tricks from his old boss. Musick plans a wing T for the Big Red, but he promises "our attack will be from varied formations." Those variations might just shake up a few opponents. Quarterback Bill Abel spins a fair pass, Pete Larson and Ron Gervase can run and they will operate behind a seasoned line led by 230-pound Tackles Reeve Vanneman and Harry Garman. The defense, hopefully, can cover up its greenness with size. Guard Craig Gannon is 300 pounds while Tom Diehl, shifted from offensive guard to end, is 240, and Tackle Ted Lolakis is 230. The Ivys are going national.

Harvard's John Yovicsin moans about the loss of 17 lettermen, including a dozen starters from his two platoons, but Ivy Leaguers aren't listening. They are all too familiar with Yovicsin's talent for building staunch defenses, and he has a sound nucleus in 230-pound Dave Davis and 230-pound Skip Sviokla, a pair of smashing tackles, tough End Justin Hughes and Linebacker Don Chiofaro. The Crimson also has some good runners in shifty Bobby Leo and stubby Vic Gatto, an elusive 5-foot-6 sophomore. Only trouble is, they may have a time getting away. Like most Crimson quarterbacks, John Shevlin does not pass well enough to keep enemy defenses from massing and, aside from Steve Diamond, a blue-chip 211-pound tackle, Harvard's offensive linemen are mostly the inoffensive kind.

Penn is another team that could make life uncomfortable for the favorites. The Quakers, not so peaceful anymore since Coach Bob Odell took over, attack vehemently from the I, and they have the backs for it. Quarterback Bill Creeden, a zinging thrower, and Wingback Rick Owens are a formidable pair, while Tailback Bill McGill steps lively. But Penn's linemen are small, even by the old Ivy standards.

About all Columbia and Brown can hope for is to stay out of the cellar. COLUMBIA, where Coach Buff Donelli has been under fierce alumni attack, is in for another lean year. Quarterback Rick Ballantine, passing or running, is just ordinary and, except for Ends Leo Makohen and Gerry Zawadzkas, Guard Dick Flory and Defensive Back Bob Hast, the other returning Lions are not likely to scare anyone. Sophomores could help, though, and Donelli is counting on them. BROWN Coach John McLaughry, for a change, has size and depth at the tackles, where Albin Moser, 6 feet 5 and 200 pounds, and Leon Jalbert, a 230-pound sophomore, head up a five-man contingent. But, without Bob Hall, the league's No. 1 passer, the Bruins' offense will be skimpy. Sophomore Quarterback Jack McMahon is simply no Hall. Fortunately, Punter Joe Randall, who averages 40.9 yards, is back. Brown will kick a lot.

One team that could upset the probabilities in the Yankee Conference is VERMONT. The Cats have 27 lettermen, more than enough to spread over two platoons, and almost everybody, including Middle Guard Joe Soldano and End Bill Van Bennekum, is back from the defense that held foes to a measly 86 yards a game rushing last year. But Coach Bob Clifford needs a quarterback to run his spread—he calls it a "simplicity T"—and some fast runners to help Halfback Dick Hebert.

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