When they weren't talking about the prairie-full-of-dollars contract (an estimated $250,000 per year) of new Coach Jackie Sherrill, fans of Texas A&M were talking 4-0. Their preseason calculations computed four certain victories before an Oct. 9 toughie at Houston.

But Saturday night, Boston College surprised the Aggies, 38-16, and the 55,177 who witnessed it at Kyle Field in College Station, Tex., weren't talking much at all. Silence. Depression.

Boston College sophomore quarterback Doug Flutie completed 18 of 26 passes for 346 yards and three touchdowns, one in each of the first three periods. He ran for another touchdown.

Afterward, Flutie said, "The Aggies used some unsound defenses. I couldn't believe some of the things they were doing."

All of this left Sherrill, his team a 15-point favorite, saying, "By the end of the season we will not be a poor football team.

"You can't fault the players," said Sherrill. "We know more about each other now . . . We know which players can play and which can't."

A big-play night for Duke carried the Blue Devils to a 25-24 victory over Tennessee before 95,223 in Knoxville. Tailback Joel Blunk ran 13 yards for a touchdown and John Tolish kicked the extra point with 10:31 left.

Ben Bennett, Duke's junior quarterback, completed 18 of 29 for 288 yards, including an 88-yard touchdown pass to Chris Castor in the second quarter. Greg Boone had a 100-yard kickoff return for a third-quarter score.

In Yankee Stadium, Grambling State defeated Morgan State, 32-13, giving Coach Eddie Robinson, now in his 40th season, his 298th victory. Only Paul (Bear) Bryant (315), Amos Alonzo Stagg (314) and Glenn (Pop) Warner (313) rank ahead of him.

In other games, No. 8 Penn State beat Temple, 31-14, in University Park, Pa. The Nittany Lions were led by quarterback Todd Blackledge, who tied a school record with four touchdown passes. In Orangeburg, S.C., Jamie Lovett kicked a 42-yard field goal with 34 seconds to play to give Eastern Kentucky a 20-19 victory over defending MEAC champion South Carolina State.