Howard University wide receiver Steve Wilson came into the season hoping for a big year to attract the pro scouts but has caught only 19 passes for 310 yards and three touchdowns.
With quarterbacks Ronald Wilson and Brian Thomas out with injuries, the chances of Wilson, the school's leading receiver (85 catches for 1,474 yards), reaching the century mark or becoming the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference's leading pass-catcher (Morgan State's Mark Burden has 103) are slight.
"Individual records don't mean that much to me if we're not winning," said the 5-foot-11, 188-pound senior. "It would be nice to have two good final game situations dictate how much we'll throw the next two weeks."
Howard (3-5) will have a good opportunity to finish at .500. The Bison host woeful North Carolina Central (3-6) Saturday at Howard Stadium at 1:30. The following week Howard entertains Baltimore neighbor Morgan State.
"That's our aim, now, to finish .500," said Wilson. "But it's tough adjusting to two quarterbacks, much less three. You can't get the passer-receiver routine down like you want. Of course, the more all the quarterbacks play, the better they'll get. But it's hard getting used to different quarterbacks."
Wilson will go through the adjustment period again this week. The Durham, N.C., native caught four passes last week for two touchdowns in Howard's 28-22 loss to Southern but Thomas suffered a leg injury and little-used Raymond Gray will start Saturday.
Gray, a freshman, has completed eight of 22 passes for 90 yards and two TDs and has thrown five interceptions.
"We plan to throw a lot against NCC," said Howard head Coach Doug Porter. "We're really busted up right now and our quarterbacks haven't been that consistent to begin with.
"Steve has seen a lot of double coverage. But if that's the case, you would think the other receivers would be open," said Porter. "Our quarterbacks just haven't got them the ball. The receivers have dropped a few, too."
Should Gray be injured, Charles Seay, who has played only three downs this year, will take over.
Porter said another reason Wilson hasn't had to many chances has been Howard's poor field position.
"In many cases, we couldn't throw," said Porter. "If we could get the ball to Steve more, we would, believe me."
NCC, 2-2 in the MEAC, not strong against the run or pass. The Eagles have surrendered 2,787 yards, 1625 of them on the ground. But NCC's devil-may-care attitude is a big concern to the Bison whose pass defense has not exactly been outsatanding.
The Eagles' Alvin Cauthorn and William Marbury have thrown 243 times, completing only 85, for 1,135 yards and 10 touchdowns with 12 interceptions.
Howard cornerbacks Fred Spence and Teddy Robinson are injured and probably will not play. Reserves Robert Artisst, a converted receiver, and Richard Massey are slated to start.
"Our secondary is a problem right now but there's nothing else we can do," Porter said. "Safety Robert Winsfield (who has the only interception by a Howard cornerback) is also limping but he has to play."
Should Porter abandon his running game and attack NCC through the air, Wilson may have that "big game" he says has eluded him this season.
"I just try to do the best I can. I wish I had caught 40 or 50 passes this year but there's no sense complaining about it," Wilson said. "I haven't had what I call a great game yet. Many times a quarterback can help you in the way he throws the ball. I don't have a preference to quarterbacks but I prefer someone to throw the ball out there, so I can go get it."