Navy's football game at Rice on Saturday has been postponed because Hurricane Rita is expected to reach the Houston area that morning.

The game has been rescheduled for Oct. 22 at Rice, an open date on both teams' schedules, but the kickoff time has not been determined.

Navy canceled practice yesterday, but will practice on Thursday, Friday and Saturday and take off Sunday. The Midshipmen (0-2) did not have a game last week and will next play at Duke (1-2) on Oct. 1 at 1 p.m.

Duke plays at Virginia on Saturday.

"I understand why the decision was made, but it was unfortunate that it came at a time when we were anxious to play," Navy Coach Paul Johnson said.

"There's nothing we can do about it. We gave the team off [Wednesday] because as coaches we needed to watch film of Duke so we can prepare for them at practice. We have been getting ready for Rice, and you can't change gears that quick."

It marks just the third time in 42 years that a Navy football game has been postponed or canceled. Navy's game against Army in 1963 was postponed a week after President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The Midshipmen's game against Northwestern in 2001 was canceled after the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11.

"I mentioned to Rice's athletic director that we could host the game, but the reason for playing the game on Oct. 22 is logical because we both have open dates," Navy Athletic Director Chet Gladchuk said. "It was a coincidence that we had the same open date, but if we didn't, it might have been the logical choice to play the game here."

Hurricane Rita also caused Texas A&M, which is located in College Station -- 80 miles northwest of Houston -- to move its home game against Texas State from Saturday to tonight at 8:30. Houston's home game against Southern Mississippi, originally scheduled for Saturday, will be played Nov. 12 or 13.

Hurricane Rita, currently a Category 5 storm, has winds reaching approximately 165 mph and is projected to reach Texas's southeast coast early Saturday.

Rice also canceled a women's soccer game against Texas Christian and a volleyball game against Alabama-Birmingham on Friday and a weekend women's tennis tournament. The school also canceled road games planned for its volleyball, women's soccer and men's tennis teams this weekend.

Rice yesterday canceled all events, including classes, through the weekend. Students who are returning home this weekend were encouraged to leave yesterday, and the school encouraged any students living off-campus to come to the university for shelter, according to the school's Web site.

"The welfare of our student-athletes, staff and fans must take precedence in this time of crisis," Rice Athletic Director Bobby May said in a statement. "Their safety is our top priority."