While Penn's heir is being decided, the Quakers will play their season finale against Dartmouth without John Keller. With 3 minutes, 25 seconds left in the first period yesterday, the Penn quarterback completed a 26-yard pass to Scott Sandler at the Harvard 49, pushing the Quakers past midfield for the first time in the game.
As soon as Keller released the pass, he was hit by two Harvard defenders, absorbing a blow to the midsection that left him with a lacerated liver.
Keller left the field on a stretcher, and he was immediately taken to Boston's Brigham and Women's Hospital, where he underwent surgery last night and was listed in stable condition.
After the game, team doctor Fred Balduini said that the junior never lost consciousness. Balduini planned to stay in Boston to be with Keller last night, and the player's parents were planning fo fly from their home in Kansas to Boston today.
Dan McNally, a senior who had taken just three snaps all season, replaced Keller and did a respectable job, completing 6 of 11 passes for 79 yards.
"This was something I dreamed about - coming back up here to play," said McNally, who hails from Randolph, Mass. "When I realized I was going to get in, I just started smiling, certainly not because John went down, but I'm from the Boston area, so my family could see me play."
By the time McNally took over, Harvard had built a 14-0 lead on the arm of Tom Yohe (18 of 37 for 218 yards and one TD), a mobile junior quarterback.
On Harvard's first two scoring drives - both nine-play, 60-yard marches - the scrambling Yohe completed 8 of 9 pass attempts for 91 yards. A third 60- yard drive ended with a 6-yard TD run by Yohe, giving Harvard a 21-0 lead with 7:52 left in the first half, and the game appeared to be over.
NOT SO SPECIAL
But an atrocious performance by the Crimson special teams almost made the game competitive. Near the end of the half, Harvard punter Alan Hall watched a high snap sail over his head at his own 43.
By the time he chased the ball down and tried to get off a kick, Penn's Brad Hippenstiel was in position to block it. Penn recovered at the 34-yard line, and the Quakers had 43 seconds to reach the end zone.
Sophomore running back Bryan Keys did most of the work on the five-play drive, going 25 yards on a third and 3 at the 26 and then scoring on a 1-yard run with just a second left on the first-half clock.
Another misadventure for the Crimson punter almost gave the Quakers the opening they needed to get back into the game. Early in the third quarter, Hall fumbled a snap at his own 36.
Again, he pursued the ball and tried to kick it. This time, the ball deflected off a player, and as it hit the ground, Penn's Mark Ligos kicked it all the way to the 1, where it was recovered by a Harvard player.
The officials ruled that Ligos had intentionally kicked the ball and gave the Crimson a first down, plus 15 yards on the penalty. So instead of having possession at the 1, the Quakers had to send their defense out to meet Harvard at their own 49.
Five plays later, Harvard scored its final touchdown on a 40-yard run by halfback Tony Hinz.
After the game, Ligos said that he was trying to kick the ball up into his hands so that he could take it into the end zone, but that his momentum forced him to kick it too hard.
"I saw the ball on the ground, and I was going to run over it, which I didn't want to do, so I tried to kick it up," the sophomore said. "That was just a dumb play. I'll hopefully learn from my mistake."
Facing a 28-7 deficit, McNally led the Quakers on an 80-yard march that featured a 41-yard pass to wide receiver Dave Whaley and culminated in a 3- yard touchdown run by Keys with 8:46 gone in the third period.
The Quakers contained Yohe, who collected only 55 yards passing in the second half, on the Crimson's next possession, but Sandler fumbled the punt at the Penn 5, and Harvard recovered at the 8-yard line.
Again, the Quakers stymied Yohe, who threw three incompletions before Brian Kotz ended the scoring on a 25-yard field goal with 2:13 left in the third period.
"We had a lot of problems with Yohe early, and I was pleased with the adjustments we made on him," Penn coach Ed Zubrow said.
Harvard coach Joe Restic, although obviously pleased with the win, expressed frustration with his kicking corps. After Bruce Jacob, the team's regular placekicker, missed the PAT on the Crimson's first TD, Restic went to Kotz for the remainder of the game, using Jacob only on kickoffs.
"When you're talking championship, you'd better have a good kicking game, and we didn't today," Restic said.
NOTES. Penn tailback Chris Flynn finished with 46 yards on 16 carries, leaving the senior 8 yards shy of 2,000 for his career. . . . Keys was the Quakers' leading rusher, with 76 yards on nine carries.