For about 10 minutes today, the smaller Japanese college all-stars looked like they were going to make a battle out of their annual clash with a team of Ivy League stars.
After allowing a touchdown on a 12-play, 80-yard drive, the Japanese charged right back to the Ivy League’s 1-foot line on a 45-yard kickoff return by Kaneshi Kaneko and four consecutive completions by Tomomichi Sunaga.
But Sunaga fumbled on the next play, John Sparks of Harvard recovered and the Ivy stars were on their way to a 47-10 victory before an estimated 28,000 spectators.
Asked whether a Japanese touchdown could have turned the momentum around, Ivy Coach Carm Cozza of Yale replied, “You bet.”
“I don’t think physically they could have beaten us, but it certainly would have been a lot tougher,” he added.
Cozza said the American size advantage was a major factor.
“We overpowered them,” Harvard linebacker Joe Gordian said. “We got in their backfield quickly.”
The Ivy stars gained 338 yards rushing and 230 passing, compared to Japan’s 175 passing and 45 rushing.
Steve Hooper of Pennsylvania rushed for 116 yards on 15 carries and scored four touchdowns, on runs of 6, 5, 5 and 2 yards. He was named the game’s most valuable player.
“I just wanted to play one last game and hopefully play well,” Hooper said, “and show the Japanese what American football is, hopefully teach them something.”
Darin Kehler of Yale led all rushers with 139 yards on 16 carries, including a 40-yard touchdown dash. Chris Hallihan of Princeton scored on a 1-yard plunge on the Ivy League’s first drive.
Cornell quarterback Chris Cochrane finished with nine completions in 12 attempts for 138 yards.
Sunaga ended with 10 completions in 23 attempts for 121 yards.