The Purdue Boilermakers may be without their spearhead, quarterback Mark Herrmann, as they invade Notre Dame today in a televised clash between the longtime intrastate rivals.

Herrmann, considered one of college football's premier quarterbacks, sprained his thumb in practice Tuesday and has not practiced since.

The injury has prevented him from gripping a football, and he said that, "The first time I'll take a snap from center again will probably be in warm ups Saturday before the game."

Herrmann said he expects to be able to play, but a Purdue spokesman said yesterday that a decision on the starting quarterback won't be made until just before the game.

If he is unable to start, Herrmann might be replaced by Scott Campbell, a freshman from Hummelstown, Pa.

It will be the 52nd meeting between the two Midwest powerhouses, with Notre Dame holding a 31-18-2 edge in the series. A year ago, Notre Dame held a 20-7 lead midway in the third quarter before Herrmann directed three touchdown drives to give the Boilermakers a 28-22 win.

The University of the District of Columbia opens its season with a 1:30 p.m. game against Cheyney State at Dunbar, and Bowie State opens at home against Hampton Institute, also at 1:30.