Army vs West Virginia, 1961

ACCORDING to both of New York's eight-column morning-papers, and maybe the tabloids, too, which are out of reach at the moment, West Virginia has a "hard-bitten" football team. It is not clear whether this was a reference to the fact that before upending Army on Saturday 7-3, the Mountaineers had been bitten by Richmond, 35-26; Vanderbilt, 16-6; Syracuse, 29-14, and Boston University, 32-6.

Spectators in Michie Stadium were mildly entertained to learn that the men of Morgantown are not only hard-bitten but also hard-of-hearing. The discovery Provided the livelie few minutes in the whole long, lovely, tedious afternoon in the hills above the Hudson, where every prospect pleases and only the football is vile. Or was this day.

In the first quarter West Virginia lined up in the slot T on its own 40-yard line, fourth down and a yard to go. Urgently the corps of Cadets in the west stands called upon the defense to stop the running play and take possession, Fred Colvard, the West Virginia quarterback, lifted widespread arms and flapped his hands for silence. The howls of the Military increased. Apparently unable to hear the quarterback's signals, West Virginia straggled back into a huddle while the officials stood around helplessly, letting the clock run.

After a while Colvard carried the ball and either did or did not gain the yard required for first down. The referee gave, him benefit of the doubt, which was fair enough considering that the rules provide a 15-yard penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct by non-players.

Tbey Also Serve

Two Plays later the auricular indisposition of the mountain X men again brought proceedings to a halt, and again the officials set an example of fearless irresolution. At length the non-combat troops, having had their fun, left off hooting and mocked their visitors by shooshing in chorus, sending up a hiss like escaping steam.

As the teams changed goals for the second quarter, a voice over the public address system warned that a 15-yard penalty would be imposed unless there was quiet during the signal-calling. The Cadets jeered, but behaved themselves thereaf ter.

This was unimaginative of them, for now Army had the ball, If they had drowned out the signals of their own quarterback, Dick Eckert, the house dicks in knickers presumably would have slapped West Virginia for 15 yards.

It would have been Army's smartest play of the day, and just about the biggest single gain. Lord knows , the West Point offense needed all the help it could get.

Big Boy from Bartmiarsviffe

It was a very bad football game and it left the witnesses wondering how on earth Army managed to beat such a menace as Penn State and, for that matter, what magic West Virginia employed to knock off Pittsburgh.

The only highlight was the powerful running of Glenn Holton a richly endowed athlete from Barboursville, W. Va., who is only 19 and a sophomore. This tall fullback, now a little under his listed weight of 193 pounds, rushed with shocking violence through Army's middle, held his feet well and changed directions sharply. He appeared to have good speed in addition to his resolution and strength.

Indeed, all the West Virginia backs seemed considerably faster than Army's. Joe Blackgrove, nearest approach to a breakaway runner in the West Point backfield, couldn't get loose and Eckert's passes were wildly inaccurate, although up to this game the quarterback's .652 percentage of completions led the country.

The charitable view would credit West Virginia's persistent defenders-some of whom were also conspicuously potbelliedfor smothering the Army attack, and applaud the West Point pursuit and gang-tackling with special mention of the rush against West Virginia pass plays. The truth is, though, that New York cops give bookmakers better protection free than the West Virginia quarterbacks could buy from their colleagues.

Playing Slow and Loose

T is also true that the game was thrown away rather than won, that every point was a gift and neither team has scored yet on merit.

A fumbled kick-off starting the second half handed Army the only opportunity Army seized. Recovering on West Virginia's 32-yard line, the military made one first down but then fell back, settling for three points on a 40-yard place-kick by Dick Heydt.

Whenever Army was in punt formation, the center had trouble getting the ball back to the kicker. At length a fourthdown snapback eluded Dick Peterson altogether, rolling to the West Point 13 where it was West Virginia's ball.

On first down the invaluable Holton went four yards on a slant to his right. On second down Colvard threw into the end zone where Army's Al Rushatz and Pete King were playing Indians to Ken Herock's Custer. "Enough of this nonsense," said Holton, taking the handoff on third down and setting sail.

He made it with a starboard tack and a reach to port. The autumn foliage was magnificent. Top Stories