Twenty-four hours before Saturday's kickoff of the 100th Army-Navy football game, an almost empty Veterans Stadium echoed today with happy shouts of Navy players as they frolicked in sweat clothes on the artificial turf in a highly informal workout. The Cadets contrasted sharply in demeanor as they loosened up during the following hour, wearing their gold helmets and business faces as they rehearsed familiar drills seriously.

In commemoration of the teams' 100th meeting, there will be throwback uniforms, a special logo and an assortment of other celebrations of one of college football's best rivalries. However, neither team has a winning record. Navy (4-7) has lost six games by seven or fewer points this season and has lost six of its past seven games to Army by margins of one, two, two, one, four and four points. Army is 3-7 but believes it has played a tougher schedule than Navy because of its membership in Conference USA, in which it lost five of six games.

"We look across the ball at Navy and the thing we see is us," Joe Gerena, Army's junior quarterback, said before fastening his chin strap. "We believe we can play them at any point of the year and pull out a win."

Gerena and Bob Sutton, who will be coaching his 100th game for Army, speak straight-forwardly about the team's forthcoming tactics. They are the same tactics that have been executed by the Cadets' wishbone offense under Sutton, whose tenure began in 1991, and under his predecessor, Jim Young, since 1983. The Army way is run, run, run and, every now and then, pass.

The rare aerial rounds Army has fired against Navy often have resulted in big gains, if not game-breakers.

"We lull the defense to sleep," Gerena said, "and then we see something."

"The pass is very important because Navy is a good run-defense team," said Sutton, whose team ranks fourth in the nation in rushing offense at 279 yards per game. "We've got to complete not all of our passes but some of them. If we can get that done, it puts a stress on the defense."

If Army's plan is to plow ahead as usual, the Midshipmen have more options even though they rank as the nation's No. 1 rushing team (299 yards per game). Sophomore quarterback Brian Madden has carried for at least 150 yards in three of his four starts. Fullback Raheem Lambert is tireless. But eager to end Army's recent dominance, Navy Coach Charlie Weatherbie could open up his attack. Madden has completed 24 of 55 passes, with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Senior slotback Steve Holley, formerly a quarterback for Navy, also can throw if Weatherbie wants to insert some razzle-dazzle.

"We've got to find a way to win that close football game," said Weatherbie, whose coaching record against Army is 1-3. "I think this football team has learned from being in those close ballgames. I know I've learned as a coach what to expect and what we need to do. It's a matter of maximizing your poise and confidence, maximizing your fundamentals for four quarters."

The Mids have failed often against Army in the fourth quarter in recent years. They gave up leads in five of their six close defeats by Army, being outscored in the last period of those five games by a combined 39-3.

Gerena directed the Cadets' comeback last year with touchdown runs of 25 and 69 yards in Army's 34-30 victory.

If field goals continue to be significant as they have been most years since 1989, Navy will send out senior Tim Shubzda, who is 13 for 21 this season, including 9 of 11 from inside 30 yards and a long of 49. Army's place kicker is senior Matt Parker, 7 for 13, including 6 for 6 inside 40 but from farther out only 1 for 7.

Navy's free safety Chris Lepore, a junior, will be back from an ailing turf toe; Lepore is the team's leading tackler, just ahead of strong safety, senior Jamie Doffermyre. The best tackling lineman is senior end Gino Marchetti. "I've been pretty pumped up about this game," said Marchetti, bathed in a warm sunlight at midfield. "This is the last time I'll be with these guys. We're as close as can be. This is the time to cash in all the hard work, with a win against Army."

The First 99 Meetings

Army leads

series, 49-44-6

1890 Navy 24, Army 0

1891Army 32, Navy 16

1892 Navy 12, Army 4

1893 Navy 6, Army 4

1899 Army 17, Navy 5

1900 Navy 11, Army 7

1901 Army 11, Navy 7

1902 Army 22, Navy 8

1903 Army 40, Navy 5

1904 Army 11, Navy 0

1905 Army 6, Navy 6

1906 Navy 10, Army 0

1907 Navy 6, Army 0

1908 Army 6, Navy 4

1910 Navy 3, Army 0

1911 Navy 3, Army 0

1912 Navy 6, Army 0

1913 Army 22, Navy 9

1914 Army 20, Navy 0

1915 Army 14, Navy 0

1916 Army 15, Navy 7

1919 Navy 6, Army 0

1920 Navy 7, Army 0

1921 Navy 7, Army 0

1922 Army 17, Navy 14

1923 Army 0, Navy 0

1924 Army 12, Navy 0

1925 Army 10, Navy 3

1926 Army 21, Navy 21

1927 Army 14, Navy 9

1930 Army 6, Navy 0

1931 Army 17, Navy 7

1932 Army 20, Navy 0

1933 Army 12, Navy 7

1934 Navy 3, Army 0

1935 Army 28, Navy 6

1936 Navy 7, Army 0

1937 Army 6, Navy 0

1938 Army 14, Navy 7

1939 Navy 10, Army 0

1940 Navy 14, Army 0

1941 Navy 14, Army 6

1942 Navy 14, Army 0

1943 Navy 13, Army 0

1944 Army 23, Navy 7

1945 Army 32, Navy 13

1946 Army 21, Navy 18

1947 Army 21, Navy 0

1948 Army 21, Navy 21

1949 Army 38, Navy 0

1950 Navy 14, Army 2

1951 Navy 42, Army 7

1952 Navy 7, Army 0

1953 Army 20, Navy 7

1954 Navy 27, Army 20

1955 Army 14, Navy 6

1956 Army 7, Navy 7

1957 Navy 14, Army 0

1958 Army 22, Navy 6

1959 Navy 43, Army 12

1960 Navy 17, Army 12

1961 Navy 13, Army 7

1962 Navy 34, Army 14

1963 Navy 21, Army 15

1964 Army 11, Navy 8

1965 Army 7, Navy 7

1966 Army 20, Navy 7

1967 Navy 19, Army 14

1968 Army 21, Navy 14

1969 Army 27, Navy 0

1970 Navy 11, Arrmy 7

1971 Army 24, Navy 23

1972 Army 23, Navy 15

1973 Navy 51, Army 0

1974 Navy 19, Army 0

1975 Navy 30, Army 6

1976 Navy 38, Army 10

1977 Army 17, Navy 14

1978 Navy 28, Army 0

1979 Navy 31, Army 7

1980 Navy 33, Army 6

1981 Army 3, Navy 3

1982 Navy 24, Army 7

1983 Navy 42, Army 13

1984 Army 28, Navy 11

1985 Navy 17, Army 7

1986 Army 27, Navy 7

1987 Army 17, Navy 3

1988 Army 20, Navy 15

1989 Navy 19, Army 17

1990 Army 30, Navy 20

1991 Navy 24, Army 3

1992 Army 25, Navy 24

1993 Army 16, Navy 14

1994 Army 22, Navy 20

1995 Army 14, Navy 13

1996 Army 28, Navy 24

1997 Navy 39, Army 7

1998 Army 34, Navy 30