Howard's football team never has had much success at North Carolina A&T's Aggie Stadium. Last year, the Aggies beat the Bison, 27-7, in Greensboro, N.C., en route to winning the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championship in Coach George Small's first season. In 2001, the Aggies demolished Howard, 76-30, the most points ever allowed by the Bison.
So perhaps it should come as no surprise that Howard Coach Ray Petty is more than a little anxious as his team prepares to play at North Carolina A&T on Saturday night. The Bison (4-2, 1-1 MEAC) have won four consecutive games, their longest winning streak since 1998, and trail South Carolina State by only one game in the conference standings.
Nothing has gone right for North Carolina A&T (2-5, 0-3) since the Aggies finished 10-3 and played in the Division I-AA playoffs last season. They have lost three games in a row and haven't started 0-4 in the MEAC since 1982. Their only wins were a 16-15 victory over Division II North Carolina Central in the opener (they needed a 50-yard field goal as time expired) and a 19-17 win over Elon on Sept. 25.
The Aggies have dealt with tragedy and too many injuries this year. During spring break in March, sophomore linebacker Herbert Dixon, a second team all-MEAC selection, was shot and killed outside a nightclub near his home town of Clinton, N.C. Dixon returned an interception 11 yards for a touchdown in the Aggies' win over Howard last season.
On the field, the Aggies have lost three running backs to injuries, one quit and another was ruled ineligible. Unless Micheaux Hollingsworth can play with a sprained ankle this week, North Carolina A&T will probably play freshmen Jonathan Metcalf and Chad Truesdale, who aren't even listed in the team's media guide.
Quarterback Rico Watkins, who started the last seven games in 2003, broke his foot in a 16-13 loss to Alcorn State in the second game and is out for the season. Quarterback Marshall Glenn has a separated left (non-throwing) shoulder but is still trying to play. If he can't play, third-stringer Brian Moye will start. . . .
Howard quarterback Marcos Moreno was named MEAC offensive player of the week, and Danual Pearce was named MEAC special teams player of the week for their performances in last week's 42-35 overtime win over Morgan State.
Hoyas at Monmouth
Georgetown (2-4, 0-3 Patriot League), coming off a much-needed 21-0 victory over Virginia Military Institute on Oct. 9, plays another nonconference game at Monmouth in West Long Branch, N.J., on Saturday. The Hawks (6-1, 3-1 Northeast Conference) beat Albany, 25-24, last week on senior Steve Andriola's 23-yard field goal as time expired. Monmouth beat the Hoyas, 12-10, in the schools' first meeting last season.
Spiders Await Dukes
Sophomore quarterback Justin Rascati, a transfer from Louisville, has helped ignite James Madison's offense during the Dukes' four-game winning streak. The No. 14-ranked Dukes (5-1, 4-0) play at Richmond on Saturday, and still play two ranked Atlantic 10 teams at home: No. 3 Delaware on Nov. 6 and No. 13 William & Mary the following week. James Madison's only defeat was a 45-10 loss at Division I-A West Virginia on Sept. 25.
"We'd be in the top 10 [in I-AA] if we hadn't lost to West Virginia," Dukes Coach Mickey Matthews said. "That shows you what those games do to you. No matter what happens in the game, it's still a loss."
Rascati, from Gainesville, Fla., is a big reason why James Madison is tied with Delaware for the Atlantic 10 South lead. He didn't join the Dukes until this summer, after he left the Cardinals following spring practice. Rascati was Louisville's backup, but when the Cardinals signed high school all-American Brian Brohm, Rascati figured his playing time would be limited, at best. In last week's 24-20 win at No. 12 Maine, Rascati threw a 23-yard touchdown pass to D.D. Boxley with 48 seconds left.