Virginia at Duke
What's Wrong With?: A year ago, linebacker Darryl Blackstock led the Cavaliers with 16 tackles for losses and was tied for the team lead with four sacks. But through six games this year, Blackstock has only 21 tackles, less than half of linebacker Ahmad Brooks's 48 stops. Coach Al Groh said he isn't worried about the junior from Newport News and says opponents are running away from Blackstock this year. "There was a period there in the 1989 season when the writers at [Bill Parcells's] news conference asked him the same question, 'What's wrong with L.T.?' " Groh said. "So he decided to say one time to Lawrence, 'I'm going to give you a new name: What's Wrong With?' Well, what's wrong with was that the other team decided they weren't going to let him be a factor in the game."
Dargan Returns for Devils: First-year coach Ted Roof was banking a lot of his offensive production on tailback Cedric Dargan, who ran for 114 yards in the Blue Devils' 27-12 loss at Navy in the season opener. But then Dargan missed the next four games because of a nerve injury in his right leg. He finally returned to action last week, rushing for 31 yards on 20 carries in the loss at Georgia Tech. Duke has struggled running the ball behind an offensive line that lost four starters from last season, and the team's quarterbacks have been sacked 12 times.
Rice at Navy
Navy's 12th Man: Coach Paul Johnson this week chose Navy seniors Josh McLaughlin and John Reuland from among 18 would-be walk-ons as the Midshipmen's new "12th man." McLaughlin, a member of the 7th company from Deer Park, N.Y., and Reuland, a member of the 18th company from East Orleans, Mass., will cover the opening kickoffs in the Midshipmen's upcoming games against Delaware and Rutgers. McLaughlin is co-captain of the academy's lacrosse team; Reuland plays on the club hockey team and has never played organized football. Both walk-ons will get to wear 1963 Heisman Trophy winner Roger Staubach's retired No. 12 jersey. "I was very impressed with the candidates that tried out," Johnson said.
Lott Returns for Owls: Rice leads the nation in rushing, but the Owls have done it without Thomas Lott, their leading rusher from last season. Lott has been out because of a hip flexor injury since August, but he is expected to play against Navy today. Rice is averaging more than 345 rushing yards, more than 50 yards better than Texas, which is second in Division I-A with 293.5 yards per game. Rice's Greg Henderson leads Division I-A quarterbacks with 93 rushing yards per game; Navy's Aaron Polanco is second with 80.5 yards per game.
Howard at North Carolina A&T
Headed in Opposite Directions: Howard has won four games in a row and trails Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference leader South Carolina State by a game. North Carolina A&T, the defending MEAC champion, has lost three games in a row and is 0-3 in conference play. The Aggies haven't started 0-4 in the MEAC since 1982. The Bison, who have been outscored 103-37 in their past two games at Aggie Stadium, are aiming for their first five-game winning streak since 1997.
Finally Special in Kicking Game: During its four-game winning streak, Howard has gotten solid play from its special teams, which were a sore spot throughout last season. Senior running back Jay Colbert has emerged as one of the top kick returners in the MEAC, averaging 16.8 yards on punt returns (second in the MEAC) and 22.9 yards on kickoff returns (fourth). Justin Brantley, a transfer from Illinois, has kicked seven field goals, the most by a Howard player since 1996.
Struggling to Score: The Aggies rank 16th in Division I-AA in total defense, allowing only 291.6 yards per game. North Carolina A&T's offense ranks 78th in rushing offense (123.6 yards per game), 79th in passing (171.1 yards) and 101st in total offense (294.7 yards) among 117 Division I-AA teams.
Georgetown at Monmouth
Aiming for Two in a Row: The Hoyas haven't played since they ended a four-game losing streak with a 21-0 victory over Virginia Military Institute on Oct. 9. Georgetown had season-high totals in rushing, passing and total offense against the Keydets. Monmouth has won three straight, all on the road at Iona, Wagner and Albany. The Hawks are allowing only 16.7 points per game, ninth-fewest in Division I-AA, and only 97.6 rushing yards per game, 12th-fewest in the nation.
Sarin on Pace for 1,000: Junior tailback Kim Sarin has been one of the few bright spots for Georgetown's offense this season. The Roseville, Minn., native is on pace to become the first Hoyas player with 1,000 rushing yards in a season. Sarin, who had 180 rushing yards against VMI, has 597 yards in six games.
-- Mark Schlabach