Navy vs. Vanderbilt
Off and Running: After leading the nation in rushing with 323.2 yards per game in 2003, the Midshipmen are sixth in Division I-A after three games this season. Navy is averaging 310.3 yards, trailing Texas (386), Minnesota (359.3), California (339), Oklahoma State (333.7) and West Virginia (311). In their past 16 games, the Midshipmen are 9-2 when they run for 300 yards or more; 2-3 when they run for less than 300. The Commodores are 96th nationally in run defense, allowing 219.5 yards per game.
Banged-up Commodores: This was supposed to be the season that Vanderbilt put everything together. The Commodores were talking about finishing with a winning record and playing in a bowl game for the first time since 1982. But Vanderbilt was crushed, 31-6, in its opener against South Carolina, and blew a 10-point lead in a 26-23 loss to Mississippi last week. Now, the Commodores arrive at Navy without star tackle Justin Geisinger (sprained left knee) and leading wide receiver Erik Davis (dislocated toe). Safety Kelechi Ohanaja, the team's leading tackler, has a strained hamstring but is expected to play today.
Johnson & Johnson: Navy Coach Paul Johnson and Vanderbilt Coach Bobby Johnson met several times while both coached in the Division I-AA ranks. Paul Johnson led Georgia Southern to two Division I-AA national championships, Bobby Johnson led Furman to the I-AA championship game in 2001. While Paul Johnson had a 4-2 record against the Paladins, Bobby Johnson pulled off a couple of stunning victories. In 2000, Furman upset top-ranked Georgia Southern, 45-10, and the Paladins beat the Eagles, 24-17, in the 2001 Division I-AA national semifinals.
Howard vs. Savannah State
Losers No More: Savannah State ended its 15-game losing streak, the longest in Division I-AA, with a double-overtime, 41-34 victory over Norfolk State on Sept. 10. Until then, the Tigers had not won since a 21-20 victory over Morris Brown on Oct. 19, 2002. Savannah State returned to its losing ways last week, however, with a 55-20 loss to South Carolina State.
Tigers Quarterback Hurt: Savannah State quarterback Clyde Tullis isn't expected to play against the Bison because of an injured right shoulder. He'll probably be replaced in the starting lineup by Zach Wilson, who completed 5 of 10 passes for 64 yards against South Carolina State last week. Tullis had completed 24 of 58 passes for 324 yards and three touchdowns this season.
Brantley Honored: Howard place kicker Justin Brantley was named the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference rookie of the week after he kicked three field goals in the Bison's 17-10 upset of Alcorn State in last week's Prince George's Classic at FedEx Field. Brantley, a redshirt freshman from Detroit, transferred to Howard after one season at Illinois. He made field goals of 40, 39 and 33 yards against the Braves.
Georgetown at Colgate
Not-So-Long History: Georgetown has had a football team since 1887, Colgate since 1890. But the schools have met just three times in the last 114 years. Colgate has won both of the previous meetings, including a 20-19 victory last season. The Hoyas led 19-14 late in the game, but the Raiders scored a touchdown on a halfback option pass with only six seconds remaining.
Daunting Assignment: The Hoyas faced a tough assignment at Duquesne last week, losing 45-7. It won't be any easier against Colgate, which has a 13-game winning streak in games against Patriot League foes, as well as a 13-game winning streak at home. The Raiders, ranked ninth in the USA Today/ESPN Division I-AA coaches' poll, finished 15-1 last season and advanced to the Division I-AA national championship game, where they lost to Delaware, 40-0, in Chattanooga, Tenn. Colgate lost to U-Mass., 30-20, in its 2004 opener, but rebounded with a 17-15 win over Dartmouth last week.
-- Mark Schlabach