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GAME DAY // Florida A&M at Howard

AROUND THE STATE

When / where: 1 p.m., W.H. Greene Memorial Stadium, Washington, D.C.

Records: FAMU 3-1, 0-0 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference; Howard 2-2, 0-1.

Key matchup: FAMU RB Kwame Vidal vs. Howard's defense. "If you don't look good, we don't look good." The old Vidal Sassoon slogan is a perfect way to describe the importance of Vidal, who rushed for 243 yards in 53 carries last week. Junior college transfer Damian Slaughter continues to improve, but until he's seasoned, Vidal is the main man. If Howard can't stop him, it can't win.

Guess what?: With 563 yards in four games, Vidal is on pace to break the single-season record of Tampa native Ike Williams, now an assistant at Hillsborough. FAMU LB Earl Holmes needs only eight tackles to break the school's career record of 389. He has 43 this season despite a hairline fracture in his left leg. Eleven of Howard's top 22 players are freshmen or sophomores. The Bison are allowing an average of 377.5 yards.

UCF at McNeese State

When/where: 8 p.m., Cowboy Stadium, Lake Charles, La.

Records: UCF 2-1; McNeese State 4-0.

Key matchup: UCF RB Marquette Smith vs. McNeese State's defense. An incredibly intriguing matchup because it pits one of the best backs in Division I-AA against the NCAA's top-ranked I-AA defense against the run. McNeese State has allowed only 119 yards in four games, while Smith is averaging 101 yards and rushed for 122 against FSU last week.

Guess what?: This is the second No. 1 team UCF has faced. McNeese is ranked No. 1 in Division I-AA. All four UCF opponents have been ranked in either the Division I, I-AA or II Top 25. Junior LB John Bryant returned for UCF after missing the first two games of the season and all of 1994. He had nine tackles, including five unassisted against FSU.

Keep an eye on: UCF's Daunte Culpepper (56-of-83, 722 yards) is the most efficient quarterback in Division I-AA, according to NCAA statistics. QB Kerry Joseph and McNeese lead the Southland Conference in total offense (356 yards per game), passing offense (196.8) and scoring offense (34.3).

B-CC vs. Hampton Institute

When/where: 7 p.m., Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

Records: B-CC 2-1; Hampton 2-2.

Key matchup: B-CC's defense vs. Hampton's offense. Hampton returns all three rushers, all its receivers and three OL starters from a team that was crowned black national champion by one wire service last year. B-CC's DE Raymond Woodie (two sacks) has returned from an early ankle injury and has plenty of help from teammates Willie Oglesby (14 tackles) and Louis Kirchgessner (15 tackles, two fumble recoveries).

Guess what?: Bethune started the 1994 season 2-0, then lost six consecutive games. This season the Wildcats started 2-0 before losing to UT-Chattanooga. Bethune has owned the fourth quarter, outscoring opponents 26-9. Wilmer White entered the season as B-CC's top returning back, but he's been passed by Keith Brown. Of course, Brown has only 97 yards in 33 carries for the pass-oriented Wildcats.

Keep an eye on: The Jacksonville Sports Authority, which is sure to go all out in its host role. Jacksonville is one of three cities hoping to lure the Florida Classic from Tampa, and a successful weekend could have a big influence on B-CC.

AROUND THE NATION

No. 4 Colorado at No. 10 Oklahoma

When/where: 8:45 p.m., Norman.

Records: Colorado 4-0; Oklahoma 3-0.

TV: ESPN.

Radio: WHNZ-AM 570.

Line: Colorado by 3.

The scoop: New Colorado coach Rick Neuheisel proved himself last week against Texas A&M. Now, it's Howard Schnellenberger's turn at Oklahoma.

The Sooners have not beaten the Buffaloes since 1988, losing 45-7 last year.

"For us it's going to be a benchmark, an indication of where we are, how far we've got to go," said Schnellenberger, who has promised to make Oklahoma a national championship contender again.

Colorado quarterback Koy Detmer is out with a knee injury, so sophomore John Hessler is back to replace him. Hessler completed 10 of 20 passes for 177 yards in a relief role against Texas A&M.

He might have a tougher time against the Sooners. Oklahoma, which has given up five touchdowns all season, has the nation's No. 7 rated defense.

Arizona State at No. 5 Southern Cal

When/where: 7 p.m., Los Angeles.

Records: Arizona State 2-2, 1-1 Pac-10; USC 3-0, 1-0.

Line: USC by 21.

The scoop: Just when the Trojans start to look like a national championship contender, they get a dose of bad news. Three starters _ running back Shawn Walters, linebacker Errick Herrin and defensive end Israel Ifeanyi _ have been suspended while the school investigates allegations they accepted money from an agent.

If it's any consolation, the Sun Devils still do not appear to have the talent to overtake USC. Arizona State was beaten 77-28 by Nebraska this month.

No. 20 Alabama at Georgia

When/where: Noon, Athens.

Records: Alabama 2-1, 1-1 SEC; Georgia 2-2, 1-2.

TV: Chs. 28, 40.

Line: Alabama by 3.

The scoop: In order to save his job, Ray Goff's team was supposed to show "significant improvement." So far, the Bulldogs have shown significant pain.

Goff has lost his starting quarterback, his starting tailback and two of his first four games.

"We're not a bad football team," the coach said. "I really believe in my heart that we are a 4 and 0 football team that happens to be 2 and 2 because of two injuries."

One way for Georgia to demonstrate its improvement in 1995 is to beat the Crimson Tide. Goff hasn't done that since 1990.

_ Compiled by Ernest Hooper and John Romano

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