Temple at Virginia
Eyes on November: The Cavaliers are hoping for a big finish as they play their next three games at home -- against Temple, Georgia Tech and No. 3 Virginia Tech -- before closing the regular season at Miami on Nov. 26. Virginia, which needs two more victories to become bowl eligible, opened November with a loss in three of the past four seasons. The Cavaliers are 9-8 in games in November and December in Coach Al Groh's previous four seasons. "It's an exciting month," Groh said. "It's a critical month. Seasons are made in November."
Hapless Owls: Temple is the first winless team to play in Charlottesville this late in the season since Buffalo played Virginia with an 0-7 record in 1999. Owls Coach Bobby Wallace, who won three Division II national titles at North Alabama, resigned last month and will quit after the season. Temple has lost 29 of its 32 games the past three seasons and was 19-69 during Wallace's eight seasons at the school. Temple has been outscored, 409-87, this season, allowing 60 points or more three times. Among 117 Division I-A teams, the Owls rank 101st or worse in 13 of the 14 statistical categories recorded by the NCAA.
Hello, Again: Virginia defensive coordinator-defensive backs coach Al Golden and inside linebackers coach Mark D'Onofrio were teammates with Temple running backs coach Blair Thomas at Penn State in 1988-89. Thomas, from Philadelphia, was one of only two Nittany Lions players to run for 3,000 career yards and was the No. 2 pick in the 1990 NFL draft.
-- Mark Schlabach
Tulane at Navy
Passing Fancy: Tulane quarterback Lester Ricard completed 18 of 19 passes for 323 yards and four touchdowns to lead his team to a 42-10 victory over the Midshipmen last season. Ricard, a junior, has thrown for 1,666 yards and 14 touchdowns on 147-of-279 passing this season. Navy cornerbacks Keenan Little and Greg Thrasher will be charged with covering wide receivers Preston Brown (33 catches for 474 yards and five touchdowns) and Bubba Terranova (30 catches for 466 yards and four touchdowns).
For Starters: Through seven games, Navy has scored one touchdown against five interceptions on its opening drive of the game and has outscored the opposition, 42-41, in the first period. By comparison, Tulane has outscored opponents, 35-31, during the first 15 minutes.
Run With It: Navy must establish a running game that averages 263.2 yards per game, fourth best in Division I-A. The Midshipmen are led by senior quarterback Lamar Owens (120 carries, 505 yards, two touchdowns) and Matt Hall (76 carries, 374 yards, five touchdowns). Tulane allows 148.3 rushing yards and 27.6 points per game.
-- Jon Gallo
Georgetown at Lehigh
Alumni Giving: Lehigh Coach Pete Lembo graduated from Georgetown in 1992. His team has outscored the Hoyas, 204-56, over the past four seasons. That includes a 69-0 loss to Lehigh in 2002, the program's worst loss since 1905.
Dual Threatt: Sophomore Sedale Threatt has become the starting quarterback at Lehigh; he is the son of the former NBA star of the same name. Threatt rushed for 100 yards and threw for 187 in a 50-34 win over Colgate last week. That victory ensured that if the Mountain Hawks win their final three games, they will win the league and make the NCAA I-AA playoffs.
Sack Exchange: The Hoyas lead the Patriot League with 11 sacks in conference play; Lehigh, meantime, has not given up a sack against conference teams. Overall, Georgetown has 47 tackles for loss and 19 sacks. Senior defensive back Jason Carter leads the team with 74 tackles and also has 5.5 tackles for loss; senior linebacker Mehdi Hassan has 63 tackles. They will have their work cut out for them today, however: Lehigh has scored 49 points or more in each of their past four games against the Hoyas.
South Carolina State at Howard
Invitation Only: The Bulldogs' two losses could easily have been wins. They led Hampton by 10 points early but went scoreless on their final 12 possessions in a 14-10 loss. They also led Coastal Carolina by 13 points before losing, 24-23. Those losses could be crucial: South Carolina State must hope for an at-large bid to the Division I-AA playoffs barring a couple losses by No. 3 Hampton.
Strength on Strength: Howard's run defense continues to impress. The Bison are giving up 70.8 rushing yards per game, second in Division I-AA. South Carolina State, meantime, has three players with nearly 400 yards rushing this year: running backs DeShawn Baker (624 yards, six touchdowns) and Jonathan Woods (465 yards, eight touchdowns) and quarterback Cleveland McCoy (383 yards, six touchdowns). The Bulldogs also have four of their starting offensive linemen back from last year.
-- Christian Swezey