Second chance for Tracy Singleton, Howard pass-catching flash who failed as the Federals' 22nd-round draft pick, then in a trial with CFL Saskatchewan. The Federals have signed him again, plus Pat Chester, all-ACC defensive back/kick returner at Virginia, a preseason cut by the Dallas Cowboys . . . Second chance for running back Richard Williams, Redskins' No. 2 pick who failed: Atlanta Falcons pick up the Memphis Stater, plus ex-Dolphin tight end Ron Lee . . .

When Rice lost, 21-17, to Minnesota on Saturday, it was a 57-minute 49-second game in Rice Stadium. Coach Ray Alborn asked SWC officials to investigate after a play-by-play account showed 2:11 disappeared following a Rice second-quarter touchdown. Reply: "There was a severe thunderstorm in the area at the time and that might explain it. We guess (the clock) just skipped" . . .

Tulane's starting quarterback, sophomore Bubby Brister, piqued at Coach Wally English relieving him in the clutch with son Jon English (whose eligibility as a transfer the NCAA questions) against both Mississippi State and Mississippi, says that's it: Brister is transferring out. "Best of luck," says coach . . .

And in Virginia's hour of (2-0) triumph, defeat for the university's new mascot, the 'Hoo. The walking ball of orange fur (resembling the Phillie Phanatic) was a hit with kids but hit by ice, cups, etc. thrown by irate students in Scott Stadium. And now, thrown out. A student contest is on to design a new critter.