Army Preview

Army Preview

For all its obvious talking points, last week's thumping of Idaho at home doesn't answer one lingering question for Derek Dooley and his second Louisiana Tech team.

It was at home, see.

Tech travels to face Army on Saturday hoping to avoid its sixth road loss in a row -- including league stumbles at Boise State and Hawaii.

"We needed a game like that, after two tough losses on road," Dooley said of Idaho. "Hopefully, we can build on our performance. We haven't put together a four-quarter game on the road."

This one starts with walling off an impressive ground game: Army, as its name might imply, likes to march down the field.

Talented running back Collin Mooney has 817 yards and six scores on the season in a run-oriented scheme that's only seen 225 passing yards over seven games for Carson Williams. Army's leading receiver has just seven catches and 116 yards so far in 2008.

The Bulldogs arrive in West Point, N.Y., having shown marked improvement across all phases in last week's 46-14 win over Idaho -- but perhaps nowhere more than in the red zone: The night featured scores on 7-of-8 trips inside the Vandals' 20-yard line.

In fact, the only time the Bulldogs failed to put up points was when they ran the ball on four straight, last-possession plays to close out the game. Those 36 points almost equaled the amount Tech has scored in the red-zone (43) over its first five contests combined.

"It was probably the most complete game we've played, in all three phases, since I've have been at Tech," Dooley said.

Running back Daniel Porter was named Western Athletic Conference offensive player of the week after dashing for a season-high 145 yards and two touchdowns on 23 carries. Porter, who also added one catch for six yards, scored on runs of 1 and 17 yards.

That pushed Tech to 364 total yards on the ground, third most by a WAC team this year and the fifth most in school history.

Ross Jenkins, in his second start, will try to complete a passing touchdown to a wide out or tight end -- something that hasn't happened so far. Tech has just two TDs by air, and both were completed to running backs.

Playmaking wideout Phillip Livas only had two catches for 16 yards, but turned one of two rushing attempts into a terrific 72-yard, second quarter score over Idaho. The Vandals (1-7, 0-4) have lost 17 conference contests in a row, and haven't beaten a Football Bowl Subdivision team in more than two years.

"The first challenge is not to forget about who we are playing," Dooley reminded. "Army blew out Tulane, and played (Texas) A&M to four points on the road. They play hard; they're sound; and they're well coached."

Army is coming off a stunning 27-24 overtime loss to Buffalo. The Black Nights had been on a two-game win streak after knocking off Tulane and Eastern Michigan.

Buffalo, down two touchdowns, scored 17 consecutive points to close out Army, which nevertheless boasted 320 total yards on the ground -- a team average of 5.9 yards per carry.

That run-first scheme provides some relief to a Tech passing defense giving up 300 a night, though there remains pressure on a group missing some key defenders.

They'll be able to train their full focus on Mooney, who ran for 172 yards last week and scored twice -- the third straight game that the senior fullback rushed for 170 or more yards. (That includes a career-best 229 yards in Army's 17-13 win over Eastern Michigan.)

But a key fumble blew the game open for Buffalo.

Tech, meanwhile, shut out Idaho in the second half a week ago -- and forced three turnovers.

Tech (3-3, 1-2 WAC) at Army (2-5)

Noon Saturday, West Point, N.Y.

Radio: KXKZ 107.5 FM. TV: None

Internet Streaming: www.espn360.comNotes: Jenkins will start at quarterback for Tech, while his younger brother, Max, is a first-year quarterback for the Black Knights. … Army is led by former New Orleans Saints standout Stan Brock, inducted into the club's Hall of Fame in 1998. He's 5-14 through two seasons. ... Tech place kicker Brad Oestriecher was named the Louisiana Sports Writers Association special teams player of the week, connecting on a career-high four field goals in the win over Idaho. …This is Tech's first trip to Michie Stadium; Army has agreed to a return game in Ruston.

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