COLORADO SPRINGS, OCT. 5 -- Quarterback Alton Grizzard, who has taken every snap in Navy's four games, will miss Saturday's key matchup against Air Force here because of a bruised right lung.
Senior Gary McIntosh, the Gonzaga High School graduate who left the team for 10 days early in September, will be the starter, according to Coach George Chaump.
In other games Saturday, Maryland will face Georgia Tech and former Terrapins coach Bobby Ross at noon at Byrd Stadium, and Howard hopes to keep its unbeaten season going with a 1 p.m. home game against Bethune-Cookman. Fourth-ranked Virginia is idle.
Grizzard, a cocaptain who accompanied the team here and was not immediately available to comment, was hurt in last week's 28-17 loss to Boston College, although he played on. He had difficulty, throwing five interceptions and fumbling at his 5-yard line. He first thought he was merely hurting from the pounding he took. X-rays Wednesday were inconclusive, but a more comprehensive examination today revealed the damaged lung.
Team physician Edward McDevitt ordered Grizzard to avoid strenuous activity for seven to 10 days. Navy will play Akron Oct. 13, then will be idle until facing James Madison Oct. 27.
Because he was not feeling well, Grizzard was held out of practice Wednesday and Thursday. He had scheduled an interview with a reporter Wednesday afternoon, but backed out, saying: "I can't do it. I apologize."
McIntosh alternated with Grizzard much of last season but started only once, when Grizzard was injured. By season's end, McIntosh had become a reserve wide receiver under Elliot Uzelac.
With the coaching change, and Chaump's reputation for high-powered offenses, McIntosh had high hopes. But after he learned that Chaump had named Grizzard to start this season's opener against Richmond, McIntosh left the team.
When the Midshipmen returned from a 56-14 loss at Virginia Sept. 15, McIntosh asked to be reinstated. Chaump left it up to the players, who voted to allow McIntosh to return.
After Grizzard's poor performance against Boston College, Chaump decided that McIntosh would get more work, to help take some of the pressure off Grizzard.
"Gary is getting back into the swing of things and he's doing very well," Chaump said Wednesday. "He's throwing the ball well and his attitude is great. If we call on him, I think he's ready."
McIntosh had better be ready, if Navy is to have any chance of ending its eight-game losing streak to Air Force. Much of Grizzard's difficulty was related to the inability of the offensive line to keep out the bigger, faster linemen from Virginia and Boston College.
Air Force is a different story. Navy's offensive line averages 26 pounds per man more than the Falcons, whose three down linemen and two outside linebackers average only 230 pounds.
However, Navy's biggest lineman, tackle Michael Davis, is questionable for Saturday because of a sprained knee. Additionally, tailback Ivan Bullard was left at home with a pulled hamstring.
In other local games, Maryland will try to end one winning streak and Howard will try to continue one.
Maryland (3-2 overall and 1-1 in the Atlantic Coast Conference) knows its hopes for contending for the league championship could ride on the outcome of today's game against 23rd-ranked Georgia Tech at Byrd Stadium. Playing on the road for the first time this season, the Yellow Jackets (3-0, 1-0) have won seven straight games and 10 of their last 11.
Led by former Maryland coach Bobby Ross, Georgia Tech's rise to prominence began with a 28-24 victory over the Terrapins last year. This season, Georgia Tech's defense has yet to allow either a rushing or passing touchdown. Maryland is also strong defensively, ranked fourth in the ACC and yielding fewer than 20 points a game.
Georgia Tech's defense is rated third nationally against the pass with 10 interceptions; Maryland's passing game is eighth but the Terrapins have had trouble scoring, averaging 16 points a game.
Over the last two seasons Howard has won eight straight games -- the longest streak in Division I-AA. Today at Greene Stadium the Bison (4-0 overall and 1-0 in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference) will try to extend that streak against Bethune-Cookman (2-2 and 1-1).
Howard, also among the nation's leaders in defense, should be challenged by a Bethune-Cookman team that can score points. Jermaine Hall has thrown for 975 yards and six touchdowns and is 15th in total offense in Division I-AA.Staff writers Anthony Cotton and Neil H. Greenberger contributed to this story.