The Catholic-Georgetown football rivalry is not recalled with wistful sentiment or burdened with tales of alumni thronging around bonfires and effigies. This rivalry needs no such embellishments.

"If we win, it will make our season," said Georgetown halfback Peter Clays.

"Even a mediocre season can be salvaged by beating Georgetown," said Catholic defensive tackle Ralph Fuccillo.

The 17th game between these two Catholic universities takes place today at Brookland Stadium, the Cardinals' home on Michigan Avenue. Catholic (3-4) is favored over Georgetown (1-4), whose only victory is a forfeit by St. Peter's. That school subsequently dropped football.

"It's obvious they don't like us and it's more than obvious that we don't like them," said Hoyas quarterback D.J. Patenaude, a senior, who acknowledges a personal vendetta because his ankle was broken while he was punting in last year's game.

Against Catholic, Patenaude will need to improve on last week's performance, when Johns Hopkins thrashed Georgetown, 42-0. Patenaude completed eight of 22 passes for 66 yards and had four intercepted. Clays, a freshman, has rushed for 268 yards on 62 carries, getting 82 yards against Johns Hopkins.

Catholic depends on the arm of quarterback Tony Gallis, who has completed 89 of 193 passes for 1,176 yards and 10 touchdowns. John Middendorf (93 carries for 292 yards, six touchdowns) is taking some of the pressure off the pass-heavy offense for Catholic, a 37-18 loser to Randolph-Macon last week.

Georgetown holds a 9-7 series edge, but has not won since 1981, a 6-0 victory. The Hoyas won the first eight times the teams met, and enjoyed a 69-8 rout in 1971. Last season they led, 23-22, at halftime, before Catholic quickly scored three touchdowns in the third quarter to win, 40-23.

"The rivalry is there," said Hoyas Coach Scotty Glacken. "I don't have to stoke the fire. The fire is burning hot."