Howard faces one of its most important tests and Virginia is on the road against another Atlantic Coast Conference team as the area's major colleges slip into their second games today.
The Bison (0-1) play Hampton at 4 p.m. in RFK Stadium in the sixth Greater Washington Urban League Classic, and the No. 19 Cavaliers (1-0) visit Clemson.
The other area schools play decidedly weaker competition. Maryland (1-0) opens its home season against Division I-AA Western Carolina at 6 p.m. Virginia Tech (1-0) hosts Alabama-Birmingham at 1 p.m. and Navy (0-1) visits Kent.
Howard lost its season opener at Jackson State, 35-21, but the Bison got strong performances from several younger players. Junior quarterback Bobby Townsend completed 20 of 49 for 309 yards, and sophomore defensive back Brian McDonald intercepted two passes.
Hampton, ranked No. 7 in Division I-AA and the two-time defending Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference champion, scored a 21-0 victory over Delaware State in stormy conditions last weekend.
Howard and Hampton have played in this Classic the last five years. Hampton has won the last two games and holds a 3-2 lead in the series. The Pirates blew a 22-point lead in last year's game, but recovered for a 38-31 victory on Roy Johnson's late touchdown pass.
Virginia's defense this week at least will know where the quarterback is, but stopping him may prove troublesome. Last week's opposing quarterback, North Carolina's Ronald Curry, is among the most mobile quarterbacks in the country. Clemson's Brandon Streeter stays mostly in the pocket; he completed 23 of 36 passes for 187 yards during a 13-10 loss to Marshall.
Part of the reason for Clemson's lack of points was an inexperienced offensive line. This is the first season since 1943 that the Tigers did not have at least one veteran starter on the offensive line.
Virginia quarterback Dan Ellis had an uneven game in his debut, throwing three interceptions during a 10-for-25, 165-yard performance. The Cavaliers' defense held up well against the Tar Heels even though five regulars suffered injuries. Lineman Monsanto Pope (knee) will be sidelined for up to six weeks and cornerback Dwayne Stukes (thigh bruise) is questionable for Clemson. The others are expected to play.
Todd Braverman, whose 50-yard field goal with 27 seconds left was the margin of victory in Virginia's 20-17 victory over North Carolina, hit a 30-yarder with 49 seconds left to lift the Cavaliers past Clemson, 20-18, last year.
Maryland's major concern is an offense that managed just two field goals in a 6-0 victory over Temple. Coach Ron Vanderlinden blasted his offensive line and then retooled it a bit, elevating redshirt freshman Todd Wike back into the starting lineup at left guard and moving left guard Chris Snader to right guard. Wike will be playing with a cast on his right hand to protect an injury.
Running back LaMont Jordan (bruised thigh) appeared strong enough late in the week to be effective. But reserve Mookie Sikyala, who ran well against Temple before spraining an ankle, will not play.
Western Carolina beat Division II Mars Hill, 59-0, last week but Coach Bill Bleil is conservatively optimistic coming into College Park.
"They spend in the millions," he said of Maryland's football program. "We don't spend a half-million, hardly."
The contrast for Navy in consecutive weeks is immense. From top-10 Georgia Tech and a 49-14 drubbing at home in the season opener, the Midshipmen are on the road against a Kent team winless in its last 14 games. Two of those losses have been to Navy. Last week, the Golden Flashes lost, 41-3, to Cincinnati.
"You'll see the most improvement that we'll make this year," said Navy Coach Charlie Weatherbie, who was critical of his team's blocking and tackling against the Yellow Jackets.
Quarterback Brian Broadwater had 133 yards passing and 47 rushing against Georgia Tech. Sophomore fullback Raheem Lambert rushed for 92 yards on 13 carries in his varsity debut.
Virginia Tech will be without quarterback Michael Vick, who injured his left ankle leaping into the end zone during the 47-0 victory over James Madison. Redshirt junior Dave Meyer will open against the Blazers, who lost, 31-28, to Missouri last Saturday.
Special correspondents Jeff Seidel, Steve Argeris and Rich Scherr contributed to this report.