Virginia Tech is among 30 Division I-A schools that have reached a sponsorship agreement with Allstate Corp., to place the insurance company's logo on the goal-post nettings at Lane Stadium. Financial terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

The goal-post nets are typically raised before field goal and extra point attempts to keep the football from going into the crowd after it passes through the uprights. Allstate will donate $300 to the school's general scholarship fund after each successful field goal and $100 after each extra point, the company said.

Other ACC schools participating in the deal are Georgia Tech, Miami and Wake Forest. . . .

Saturday's Maryland-Navy game will be shown locally on NewsChannel 8 in the Washington area, CN8 in the Baltimore area and on Channel 274 for Comcast Digital subscribers, beginning with a pregame show at 5:30 p.m. The game is being broadcast by College Sports Television, which will be previewed all weekend for Comcast Digital customers starting Friday evening. CSTV is also channel 610 on DirecTV. . . .

Maryland fullback Tim Cesa, who has missed the entire preseason with mononucleosis, will not play in Saturday's game. . . .

Navy freshman reserve kicker Jake Brownell, as well as reserve junior guard Josh Oates and sophomore slot back Jonathan Peoples, quit the team, and second-team left offensive tackle Marshall Green has been suspended for Saturday's game for violating team rules, the school announced yesterday. Brownell informed school officials he is transferring to Temple. . . .

* CYCLING: The editor of the French sports daily L'Equipe denied that his newspaper had accused Lance Armstrong of doping because he is American.

"If Lance Armstrong was a French rider and we were in possession of the same information, we would have done the same thing," Claude Droussent told France's LCI television station.

L'Equipe reported last week that Armstrong used the banned performance-enhancing drug EPO to help win the 1999 Tour de France -- the first of his record seven straight titles. Armstrong vehemently denied the accusations.

* WNBA: Tamika Catchings had 19 points and 12 rebounds and Tully Bevilaqua added 14 points to lead the visiting Indiana Fever over the New York Liberty, 63-51, in the opener of their first-round playoff series. . . .

Lauren Jackson had 19 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Seattle Storm to a 75-67 victory over the host Houston Comets in the opener of their series.

-- From News Services

and Staff Reports