Fifty years ago this season, the Georgetown University football team played in the Orange Bowl.

The Hoyas' 14-7 loss to Mississippi State completed a wildly successful run that saw the team field an undefeated team in 1938, followed by two nationally ranked squads. Two of Georgetown's top players of the era, Al Blozis and Augie Leo, landed in the National College Football Hall of Fame.

Today the Hoyas are a Division III team that has scant fan support, no scholarships for its players or salaries for its coaches, and is overshadowed by the school's famed basketball program.

And Coach Scotty Glacken wouldn't have it any other way.

"People ask me when we're going to move up" to a higher division, said Glacken, entering his 21st season as Georgetown's head coach. "My answer to them is why? There's no reason to."

"There's a special dedication here, in that the 80th guy in practice dedicates himself just as hard as the top players." And when offering that observation Glacken marvels at the number, for this season's turnout of 83 players is more than he's ever had. "Our society tends to categorize, Division I, II, III. But Saturday afternoon, it's all the same."

The Hoyas' last bowl appearance was the 1949 Sun Bowl, a 33-0 loss to Texas Western. The next year money problems forced the school to cancel the program, which had begun in 1887. Football returned to Georgetown in 1964 -- as a club sport. Six years later the Hoyas moved to Division III, where they have resided since.

Glacken, who joined the team as an assistant in 1968 while it was still a club and nurtured it through Division III infancy, said he originally planned to stay on a year-to-year basis, five at the most.

"People who played here those first years would come back and visit," he said. "Then years later they'd come back with two kids under their arms. I realized I couldn't leave. That makes up for the monetary sacrifices."

Which can be considerable, in what Glacken termed "a pure amateur approach to football."

A nonscholarship program is not unusual at small schools. What makes Georgetown unique is that every coach, including Glacken, is part time and unpaid. With practices held at 8 a.m. and 4 p.m., the coaches work as full-time businessmen in between.

"A lot of us are in sales, so {you miss} some contacts," 22-year defensive backs coach Dan Droze said. "There's certainly not any financial gain."

The players also make noteworthy sacrifices, returning from summer vacation -- at their own expense -- to start two-a-day practices. Ask a Georgetown football player why he's here, and the answer is predictable.

Said freshman tight end John Dooley: "I wanted to go to a good school where I could play. Even though it's not too recognizable, it's still fun for me."

"The education. It's a great school," fullback and physics major John McCune, from Luray, Va., said. "I just don't know if the student body recognizes us." Recognition is certainly a problem at a school where John Thompson's Hoyas -- possessors of a national title and a global reputation -- coexist with the football team. Any lack of student turnout doesn't faze Glacken, though.

"Because we're in D.C., kids have plenty of other things to do," he said. "I don't coach for the student body, but for the 80 men on my team. I do wish more alumni would come out, though."

The major frustration Glacken does have with the university involves his facilities. The football offices are reachable only after navigating a staircase behind the school's power plant, wedged in the farthest corner of McDonough Gym. Some coaches swear they have spotted rats -- and even a snake or two -- slithering around the halls near the weight room.

"I don't have a problem with emphasis or lack of emphasis, but the facilities are just not there," Glacken said. "I know {Athletic Director} Frank Rienzo does everything he can, but it's got to be one of the major priorities."

The facilities will improve after the season, with the completion of a new team meeting room. The Hoyas also play on one of the finest surfaces in Division III, the OmniTurf of Kehoe Field.

What makes Georgetown football successful in the end seems to be the camaraderie among the coaches and their dedication to education. Former players don't forget, as exhibited by some returnees, such as Dean Lowry -- a 1989 graduate who ranks as the school's all-time leading rusher and now assists offensive backfield coach Mike Kosar.

"We try to help the kids move on to adulthood," Droze said. "It helps keep us young."

"If a kid has a class at 5, they're gone," defensive coordinator Jay Calabrese said. "Sure we'd like to have them out there {practicing}, but education comes first."

Added Glacken: "I agree with Coach Thompson when he says coaches are educators. We interface with these kids more than their professors. They come talk with us.

"Football is a very personal sport at Georgetown. Success comes to the individual player who dedicates himself."

1989 RECORD: 2-8.

COACH: Scotty Glacken, 21st year (83-79-2).

OFFENSE: Pro-set.

DEFENSE: Multiple 50.

TOP PLAYERS LOST: K Tom Timperman; DL Pete Hornick; LB Ed Lee; DT Dave Rubino; WR Greg Adami; WR Paul Sarkis; RB Jim Ellis.

PLAYERS TO WATCH: RB J.J. Williams (736 yards, 3.5 avg.); LB Tim McAnaney (65 tackles, 1 int.); S Michael Sotirhos (50 tackles, 2 ints., 1 sack); DT Nabil Al-Sabih (3 sacks); DB Jim Bolger (45 tackles, 4 ints.); TE Maurice Ansellem (Churchill) (24 receptions, 228 yards); WR David Casares (14 receptions, 169 yards).

TOP NEWCOMERS: QB Blake Jones (Langley); LB Darren Braude (Whitman); LB Brendan Boler (Landon).

PROJECTION: Eighty-three players return from last year's squad, the largest number during Glacken's tenure. The team's strength includes a veteran offensive line, led by Mike Murphy and Ansellem. The major question marks are at quarterback, with Bill Jenkinson, Ralph Garcia and Craig DeGruchy competing for the starting spot, and at kicker, with untested Anthony DeGuzman slated to replace Timperman. But with all the returnees and more than 30 freshmen, the Hoyas should improve, despite the presence of three nationally ranked temas (Dickinson, St. John's and Franklin and Marshall) on the schedule.