The "real" Navy football team exploded for 17 third quarter points today while holding upset-minded William & Mary to 38 yards in the second half and won its fifth straight, 27-7, before more than 25,000 in the 33rd annual Oyster Bowl at Foreman Field.

The win for the Midshipmen, 5-0 and ranked 18th in the UPI poll before today's game, was a costly one, however. Tailbacks Mike Sherlock and Steve Callahan, defensive end Reggie Trass and defensive tackle John Merrill all were injured. Nose guard Terry Huxel, offensive tackle Rich Welch and reserve fullback Kevin Tolbert, injured last week, didn't even make the trip.

"It doesn't look good," said Navy Coach George Welsh, referring to his team's growing list of injuries. "This was a very costly win. Our reserves stepped in and did a good job. (Chris) Garner played well in Huxel's spot and (defensive tackle Mike) Matthes had a good game."

Sherlock, who rushed for 150 yards in 15 carries, pulled a hamstring in his left leg just as he stepped into the end zone after racing 59 yards. Sherlock's fourth touchdown of the year, followed by Steve Fehr's third conversion kick, raised Navy's lead to 21-7 and broke the game open.

"That run broke our backs," said Indian nose guard Bo Short, formerly of West Springfield High in Fairfax. "Our defense had played well up until then and that run did it. After that, our heads went down a bit and didn't come up."

The Indians (2-4), who gave Navy fits in fighting to a 7-7 tie at the half, had just been burned for a touchdown moments before Sherlock's run but still felt they had a chance to win the game.

"If we could have done something about that third quarter, we'd have had a football game," said William & Mary Coach Jim Root.

The Indians, who finished with 197 yards, never had a chance in the second half. On its opening possession of the third quarter, William & Mary dug a hole for itself quickly. Quarterback Chris Garrity was chased out of the pocket and threw a wobbler right to Navy linebacker Mike Kronzer, who returned the ball 10 yards to the Indian 35.

A 15-yard penalty assessed against Indian end Ed Schiefelbein for knocking down Mid tackle Steve Chambers after the play, moved the ball to the 18.

Two Sherlock dives moved the ball to the nine. Bob Powers, after faking to Sherlock up the middle, rolled to his left and fired a bullet to flanker Dave Dent alone at the sideline in the end zone. Fehr's boot made it 14-7 with 11:14 left in the period.

The Mid defense was on fire, led by Chambers, Kronzer and Garner.

The Indians' ensuing series lost five yards and they punted.

On a first down from the Mid 41, Sherlock found some daylight created by guard Frank McCallister and tackle John Taylor, and sped 59 yards for a touchdown. Sherlock had just begun to ease up when he suddenly fell face down.

"I went to slow down and it (the hamstring) popped," said Sherlock, who had just recovered from a back injury. "I don't know how bad it is."

Fehr's boot increased the Mids' lead to 21-7 with 9:01 to play.

But Navy wasn't finished. Another sack, this one by Matthes, forced the Indians to punt again.

Getting the ball at the William & Mary 46, the Mids drove to the Indians' two before settling for Fehr's 22-yard field goal.

"Our offense was going pretty good then," Powers said. "I wish we could have gone for the touchdown instead of the field goal right then. That would have really put them away."

The field goal was enough. Now trailing, 24-7, with 2:19 left in the third period, William & Mary called it a day.

"This is the third time we died in the third period," said Indian quarterback Alan Drewer, former All-Met from Yorktown in Arlington. "We play fine the first half, then nothing the second half."

Drewer, Garrity and Joe Czerkawski had no luck throwing against Navy the second half.

The three quarterbacks completed 10 to 20 passes in the second half but most of the completions were of the five-yard desperation variety. They finished with 114 yards passing.

Like the huge crowd, Navy did a lot of spectating in the first period. The Indians drove 61 yards in 13 plays to jump ahead, 7-0, before the game was four minutes old. Garrity hit fullback Alvis Lang with a screen pass that the fullback turned into an 11-yard scoring play. Steve Libassi added the kick.

The Indians put together another short march early in the second quarter before Libassi missed a 39-yard field goal.

Sparked by the tough running of Sherlock, Navy began to show signs of life and quickly moved 66 yards to a tie. Powers' 25-yard run on an option play kept the drive alive. Larry Klawinski barrelled over from a yard out to cap the nine-play drive. Fehr tied the game at 7-7 with 3:09 left in the period.

Navy, ranked third nationally against the rush, allowing 71.2 yards per game, limited William & Mary to 83.

Trass (sprained knee), Merrill (sprained ankle) and Huxel (sprained ankle) all are expected to be back for Navy's home contest against Virginia Saturday. Callahan (strained knee) and Sherlock are uncertain.