Howard football coach Steve Wilson said his team's pregame routine will not change for Saturday's season closing Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference meeting with Delaware State at Greene Stadium. Delaware State Coach Bill Collick said his team will warm up as usual.

In two of the past three years, brawls have erupted in the annual meeting between the schools. Last year in Dover, the teams fought three times, the first incited by taunts during pregame drills when players' paths overlapped.

Before the game started, both teams were wrestling. Another fight occurred during the game. After Howard's 19-14 victory, with fans and parents on the field to greet players, several fights broke out, and objects, including benches, were thrown.

"Both times it happened, it happened {in Dover}, and I don't think anything like that will happen here because Coach Wilson just doesn't go for that stuff," said Howard senior nose guard Brian Taltoan. "But I think there will be some people here early waiting to see if anything will happen."

Wilson said he sees nothing to indicate last year's incidents would be repeated.

"I don't think there will be any problems," said Wilson. "We have played 10 games without any problems this year. They have played nine or 10 games without any problems. I don't see that we should have any problems Saturday."

Collick has similar sentiments.

"There were some fisticuffs, but I don't think there will be any carryover," he said. "I don't think that was any indication of these two football teams."

Before the season, both coaches felt this game would likely decide the MEAC title. Instead, Howard is 6-4 overall, 3-2 in the league, and has lost four of its last five. Delaware State is 6-3, 3-2, and comes off a devastating 48-28 loss to North Carolina A&T.

Both teams come into Saturday's game with injury problems.

Howard defensive end Gary Willingham (pulled quadriceps) and linebackers Mack Jones (torn rib cartilage) and Anthony Hooper (sprained knee, ankle) will not play. Wide receiver-kick returner Gary Harrell has a sprained ankle that will limit his effectiveness. And Wilson said four of his five starting offensive lineman are so banged up they will practice only lightly this week. Howard's top offensive lineman, Paul Ramseur, broke a bone in his foot that finished his season after the ninth game.

"We are tremendously beat up," said Wilson. "We will try to find enough bandages to go out there."

Delaware State quarterback Curtis Williams is questionable with a slight shoulder separation.

Whoever the Delaware State quarterback is, he will have to look out for 6-foot-3, 275-pound Taltoan, whose 61 unassisted tackles are 17 more than any other Howard player. He has six sacks.

"Before this year, he had only played defensive end," said Wilson. "He has been getting double- and triple-teamed and still done a good job."

More than a dozen professional scouts have stopped by Howard to watch films of Taltoan. Others will be present Saturday.

Taltoan says Saturday's game will be special to him for other reasons. He went to Delaware State as a freshman. And he would like to end his college career with a victory after what has turned out to be a disillusioning season.

"Our record is not bad," he said. "It is just that we started out winning our first five, and in that respect it almost seems like we are having a losing season."

Bison Notes: Howard is No. 5 in Division I-AA defense, allowing 260.4 total yards per game. Delaware State is second in rushing offense (288 yards per game). . . . Delaware State wide receiver David Jones has caught 51 passes for 1,026 yards. No other Hornets receiver has more than 11 catches. . . . Harrell leads I-AA punt returners with a 15.4-yard average. Delaware State's Brian Randall (14.7) is No. 2.