Howard and Navy, two football teams in quest of postseason bowl bids, are on the road Saturday, playing crucial games.
In two other contests in Washington, UDC (2-6) plays Fayetteville (N.C.) State (3-4) at RFK Stadium at 2 p.m. in the renewal of the Capital Classic, last played 18 years ago, and Catholic (5-2) has a 1:30 date with Iona (4-3-1).
Howard shoots for its fifth straight win tonight against nonconference opponent Southern University here at Memorial Stadium.
The Bison (5-2-1) are slightly favored over the Jaguars (4-4), mainly because of the intimidating passing attack led by senior quarterback Ronald Wilson.
Howard, having destroyed its last four opponents, needs to win tonight to keep afloat its hopes of finishing the season with seven victories that might gain it a postseason bowl invitation.
However, the average-at-best Bison defense may have problems containing the Jaguar veteran offensive line, which averages 275 pounds and has good speed. Senior Ralph Wilson, 6 feet 3, 285, one of Southern's tackles, is expected to be selected high in the National Football League draft next spring.
Southern's defensive secondary boasts highly regarded James Davis and Willie Freeman, who must contain Bison receivers Tracy Singleton (the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference leading receiver), Wallace Mason, Charles Lawrence and Robert Artisst.
Navy (5-3) meets Syracuse (4-4) in an afternoon contest in the Carrier Dome.
The Mids, coming off a 33-0 trouncing by Notre Dame, will be facing the equally disgruntled Orangemen, throttled last week by Pittsburgh.
Syracuse halfback Joe Morris, who began the season with Heisman Trophy hopes, has spent many games nursing nagging injuries. He may have a tough time running inside on Navy's highly ranked rushing defense.
Virginia (4-4), which had its pre-season bowl aspirations dashed two weeks ago, will host a surprisingly goodRutgers team (5-3) in Charlottesville.
Cavalier Coach Dick Bestwick has at last settled on junior quarterback Todd Kirtley, a Robinson High School graduate, who led UVa to an upset last week over Tennessee in Knoxville.