Different teams, different dreams:

Howard, with nine straight victories, feels slighted about not being ranked in the Division I-AA top 20. A win at home today over South Carolina State might get the burly Bison a listing.

Maryland, which has won two consecutive games, would like to repay North Carolina State tonight in Raleigh for ending the Terrapins' 19-game Atlantic Coast Conference winning streak last year.

Though they would never admit it, the winless Navy Midshipmen would probably settle for just playing well this week. The problem is that their opponent today in Annapolis is North Carolina, which makes that goal difficult.

Virginia, which last week won its unofficial state championship game with Virginia Tech, this week is hoping to get back into the ACC race by defeating Duke tonight in Charlottesville.

Howard (2-0 overall, 1-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) has totaled very impressive numbers on offense, but the Bison were ignored again in the national poll, although they are No. 2 in the Sheridan poll of predominantly black colleges. They believe a victory over South Carolina State today (Greene Stadium, 1 p.m.) would finally bring them national attention.

"According to their {voters'} criteria, I guess we don't deserve a ranking," said Howard Coach Willie Jeffries. "But according to my criteria, we do."

South Carolina State (1-1, 1-0) was the last team to defeat the Bison. Howard has lost every one of the series' 13 games since 1973, when Jeffries was in his first year as coach of the Bulldogs.

After a 45-0 victory over Newberry College in its opener and a thrilling 58-51 win over Bethune-Cookman last week, Howard has gained prominence in NCAA statistical categories. It leads Division I-AA in total offense (677.5 yards per game), rushing (460.5 yards per game) and scoring (51.5 points per game). Nevada-Reno, the nation's No. 1-ranked I-AA team, ranks second in total offense with 156 fewer yards per game.

Tailback Harvey Reed is the nation's leading rusher and scorer with 225.5 yards and 19 points, respectively, per game. Quarterback Lee DeBose has completed 22 of 30 passes for 419 yards, four touchdowns and zero interceptions, making him the nation's No. 1 efficiency passer.

Fullback Ronnie Epps, primarily a blocker in Howard's option offense, has averaged 19.1 yards on seven carries. Backup tailback Fred Killings is averaging 99 yards rushing per game. All of the numbers will probably deflate somewhat against the Bulldogs, who are the MEAC's top-ranked team against the run.

South Carolina State Coach Dennis Thomas did not want to predict at what pace Saturday's game would eventually be played, but the defensive specialist doubted Howard would repeat its performance against Bethune-Cookman.

"All I will say is that if any team scored 58 points against one of my teams," Thomas said, "I guarantee I would be long gone before that game was over -- and so would quite a few of my players."

Maryland (2-1, 1-0 in the ACC) is looking for its third straight win before having two weeks off prior to playing at Miami (Fla.).

North Carolina State had an excellent season last year, the first under Coach Dick Sheridan. After three straight 3-8 seasons under Tom Reed, the Wolfpack surprised many observers by going 8-2-1 before losing to Virginia Tech on a last-second field goal in the Peach Bowl.

Last season, the Wolfpack opened with a blowout of East Carolina, a tie with Pittsburgh, a four-point win over Wake Forest and a 28-16 victory over Maryland in College Park. This year -- with 12 starters, including quarterback Erik Kramer (1986 ACC player of the year) gone -- they have lost to East Carolina, Pittsburgh and Wake Forest. They will try to end their skid tonight at 7 against the Terrapins in Carter-Finley Stadium.

"It is a little surprising," Maryland Coach Joe Krivak said of N.C. State's start. "But they have turned the ball over, which keeps the defense on the field."

The Wolfpack has scored just 17 points in three games and has committed 12 turnovers.

In only two seasons, Kramer set game, season and career marks for yards passing and is second on the school's all-time list for passing efficiency. His replacement is Shane Montgomery, a 6-foot-1, 188-pound sophomore from Newark, Ohio, who hadn't taken a snap until this year. And never having run the option until he got to college, Montgomery is still trying to master it.

Navy is 0-2, having lost to William and Mary and Lehigh, a pair of Division I-AA teams. North Carolina is 2-1, having beaten Illinois and Georgia Tech and lost to top-ranked Oklahoma. The two will meet at 2 p.m. today at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

"They know they can throw the ball," Coach Eliot Uzelac said of the Tar Heels, who are led on offense by quarterback Mark Maye. "They want to get better at running it. They're going to come in here and try to just pound us with the run. And they should. They've got a 300-pound tackle {Creighton Incorminias}, a 287-pound tackle {Darrell Hamilton from Anacostia High School}."

Having discovered a run defense in its win over Virginia Tech, the Virginia Cavaliers (1-2 overall, 0-1 in the ACC) will search for a pass defense tonight when they face 3-0 Duke (Scott Stadium, 7 p.m.). The homecoming crowd will see a Duke offense which, led by quarterback Steve Slayden, is averaging 35.7 points and 443.7 yards in total offense per game.

"We've improved against the run, we'll find out if we've improved against the pass," Virginia Coach George Welsh said. "We can't give up 300 yards and expect to win."