Navy at Rutgers
Going Bowling: Rutgers, which lost to Navy, 54-21, last season, is one victory from its first winning season since 1992, which would make the Scarlet Knights eligible for their first bowl game since 1978. Meantime, a win by Navy would enable it to become bowl eligible by defeating Tulane (2-4) next Saturday in Annapolis. It is important for Navy to win six games as soon as possible because as an independent, it does not have a bowl tie-in. Major conferences such as the ACC, Southeastern Conference and Big Ten have contracts to guarantee their bowl-eligible teams spots in the postseason, and schools cannot accept an invitation until they have six wins.
Hines Time: Junior fullback Trey Hines, who had been slowed all season by a torn muscle in his right leg suffered during outdoor track season last spring, should figure heavily in Navy's rushing attack that averages 272.7 yards per game. Hines rushed for 39 yards and a touchdown on six carries in his first career start in last week's win at Rice. He will alternate with junior fullback Matt Hall, who has rushed for 329 yards and five touchdowns on 67 attempts.
McGown's Status: Navy Coach Paul Johnson said he hopes junior cornerback Jeremy McGown will play today after missing the past three games because of a broken left arm. McGown, one of the team's top defenders, suffered the injury trying to make a tackle during the team's victory at Duke on Oct. 1. McGown, who wore a soft cast during practice this week, could make his return against Rutgers' talented receiving corps -- which features four receivers with at least 20 receptions, led by senior Tres Moses (28 catches, 456 yards, 3 touchdowns).
-- Jon Gallo
Howard at Norfolk State
One and Only: The Spartans have won one league game in the past three years; they also were the only team without a preseason first- or second-team all-Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference selection. First-year coach Peter Adrian, formerly the defensive coordinator at Bethune-Cookman, is working to change those things. He raised $20,000 to refurbish the school's weight room soon after taking the job. His best player likely is junior wide receiver Derrick Baker, a transfer from Florida State. Baker leads the team in receiving yards (11 catches for 237 yards).
Trench Warfare: Florida A&M senior running back Rashard Pompey is the only player to rush for more than 100 yards against Howard this year. Overall, the defense is giving up 57.3 rushing yards per game and 1.8 per carry. In a 16-0 victory over North Carolina A&T last week, the Bison gave up minus-4 yards on 25 carries. The leaders are senior defensive tackle Michael Brown (nine tackles for loss), sophomore linebacker Danual Pearce (eight tackles for loss) and junior linebacker Timothy Lockett (team-high 51 tackles). The Spartans, however, have the conference's leading tackler: Sophomore linebacker Maguell Davis, a transfer from Delaware, has 87.
An Upright Citizen: Howard's Noam Dror made his first field goal against North Carolina A&T after having missed his first four attempts.
-- Christian Swezey