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The real question around Dartmouth is whether or not Joe Yukica can repeat himself. In his first year Yukica steered the Big Green to a 6-1-0 Ivy season, up from 4-3-0 in 1977. Quarterback Buddy Teevens is gone, but whoever replaces him—either Jeff Kemp or punter Larry Margerum—will still have Dave Shula (who caught 49 passes) as a target. Now that its Mark Whipple-Mark Farnham battery is a thing of the past—Whipple graduated—Brown's major concern is finding a quarterback who can whip the ball to Farnham. The top applicants for the spot are lefthanded Larry Carbone, who has tossed exactly one pass in varsity competition, and Scott Dumont, who has tossed exactly one fewer. With only one starter returning on offense and three on defense, Yale is deep into reconstruction. Most likely to be tapped to play quarterback for the Elis is Montana State transfer Dennis Dunn. Although he is new on the Ivy scene, Yale has gone all out to make him feel at ease by scheduling its first four games at home.
Cornell comes off its first winning season (5-3-1) in six years. The 1978 Big Red led the league in rushing, but Tailback Joe Holland, second nationally in per-game rushing with 155.1 yards, and his backups have graduated. Nonetheless there is a suspicion among the Ivies that Coach Bob Blackman, now in his third season, at Cornell, is ready to unleash a powerhouse. Penn, virtually wiped out by graduation, plays its 1,000th intercollegiate game, against Columbia, next month. That will have to serve as the season's highlight. Harvard, too, lost most of its offense, but if senior Quarterback Burke St. John can absorb Coach Joe Restic's complicated offense fast enough, things may still come up roses for the Crimson. After a 2-5-2 year, Princeton has high hopes for 649-yard rusher Cris Crissy and no hopes of contending for the Ivy crown. Columbia climbed to a 3-5-1 record last year, but the Lions remain the premier reason why their rivals keep singing "I love New York."
Mustang Mania: Year 2. Year 1 saw the average attendance for Southern Methodist's games at Texas Stadium soar to 51,960 from 26,635 in '77. It was the third-largest one-season increase in the annals of college football. Not bad for a team that lost five of its last six games. What, then, accounts for it?
Simple. Over the last four years Coach Ron Meyer has recruited some of the most exciting offensive players anywhere. For example, this season's additions include such highly sought running backs as Craig James and Eric Dicker-son; Eric rushed for nearly 6,000 yards in his high school career in Sealy, Texas. They could take some of the pressure off junior Quarterback Mike Ford, who last season completed 224 of 389 passes for 3,007 yards and 17 touchdowns and led Division I schools in total offense. Ford's favorite target will continue to be Emanuel Tolbert, who in three years has caught 143 passes for 2,408 yards and 21 TDs.
Though the SWC is top-heavy with Top 20 teams, the conference's bottom half can't be written off too quickly. True, Texas Tech must open against USC, but last year the Red Raiders had a 7-4 record and still have sophomore Ron Reeves at quarterback. In '78 Reeves hit on 77 of 161 for 1,195 yards and nine TDs. An erstwhile tight end now playing fullback, James Hadnot caught 20 of those completions, in addition to rambling for a conference-leading 1,369 yards rushing. While Hadnot will have some new backs lining up beside him, he'll have a sound veteran line working in front of him. Last year Baylor beat only three teams, one of which was Texas—a stunning 38-14 season-ending upset. The Bears figure that is a portent for this season. The main reason for the optimism in Waco is Running Back Walter Abercrombie. After becoming a starter midway through the '78 season, he rolled up 661 yards. While the Bears' schedule—Texas A&M, Houston, Alabama—is better suited to the Pittsburgh Steelers, the Longhorns are again the opponents in the finale, so if all goes awry, Baylor diehards can always hope for another upset. Rice was outgained and outscored nearly three to one last season, even though Quarterback Randy Hertel completed 156 of 279 for 1,677 yards and 12 TDs. Hertel is back, but he needs help in the form of a receiver or two and something that can be described as a defense.
Texas Christian didn't win a conference game in 1978 but had injuries, operations and excuses aplenty. The miracles of modern medicine and some feverish recruiting may have improved the Horned Frogs' lot a bit, but not enough to make a significant difference in the team's record.