Howard tailback Harvey Reed, the nation's leading Division I-AA rusher with 147.6 yards per game, may be forced to sit out Saturday's game against North Carolina A&T because of a sprained ankle.

Reed, a senior, carried for 100 or more yards in 11 consecutive games before injuring his ankle in the first quarter of last weekend's 56-14 victory over Virginia State. He ran four times for 26 yards before Virginia State's Rodney Nettles fell on Reed's ankle in a scramble for a fumble.

This week's game against the Aggies (3-3 overall, 1-1 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) in Greensboro, N.C., is crucial to the Bison (4-1, 2-0) if they are to win their first MEAC title.

"If Harvey is not healthy full go, we will not play him," said Howard Coach Willie Jeffries. "It is the same situation as during the game against Virginia State. Harvey wanted to go back in, but we didn't want him to. He wants to play this week, but we will have to see if he can do anything the next couple days at practice."

Backup Fred Killings rushed for 205 yards filling in for Reed against Virginia State. Third-string Tony Mack gained 80 yards and scored two touchdowns in the rout.

Jeffries said quarterback Lee DeBose, who sat out the Virginia State game with a pulled groin muscle, "is 90 percent" recovered and will start. John Javis, DeBose's replacement, was the MEAC's offensive back of the week after accounting for five touchdowns -- four rushing and one passing -- in the victory.

Fullback Ronnie Epps, who also missed last weekend's game, because of a family-related problem, is set to start.

Howard again failed to make the top 20 in the weekly NCAA Division I-AA poll. Three thrice-beaten teams are included, evidently on the basis of tougher schedules.