DALLAS (AP) — New week, same scenario for Army coach Rich Ellerson.
The Black Knights (1-3), riding a three-game losing streak, for the second straight game will face a team with the same record when they meet Louisiana Tech in the Cotton Bowl on Saturday.
"We're hurting," Ellerson said. "Boy, are we frustrated."
Both teams are.
Army is coming off a mistake-filled, 25-11 home loss to Wake Forest; the Bulldogs are reeling from a 13-10 loss at Kansas, the Jayhawks' first Bowl Subdivision win after 22 straight losses.
The Black Knights were called for eight penalties and lost two fumbles against the Demon Deacons, netting only three field goals from Daniel Grochowski on four trips into the red zone and squandering an 11-10 lead late in the third quarter. On the season, Army is 9 for 13 on scoring inside the opponents' 20-yard line, with just six TDs.
"Some of the things that have been driving us crazy are very fundamental things that have slipped away from us," Ellerson said. "We'll get back to the fundamentals, and not be too smart or too tricky. We need to run our offense and be ourselves."
Louisiana Tech, whose only victory was against an FCS team (Lamar), lost two fumbles inside the Kansas 5-yard line in the fourth quarter, the last with just over a minute left. Matthew Wyman booted a 52-yard field goal as time expired to hand the Bulldogs the stunning setback.
"Obviously, the elephant in the room is the loss," Louisiana Tech coach Skip Holtz said. "Three turnovers were our downfall, one down inside the 5 and then one of them going into the end zone. Things like that cost us 14 points. We got inside the 20 yard line four times and came away with one score."
Here are five things to watch for in the Heart of Dallas Classic:
RUNNING TO NOWHERE: Army's triple option has the Black Knights ranked 10th nationally in rushing at 303.2 yards per game, but the team's lone victory also was over an FCS opponent, Morgan State, in the opener. Ball State, Stanford and Wake Forest have handed the Black Knights their losses, and Army's top two runners— tailback Raymond Maples and fullback Larry Dixon — were sidelined with injuries last week and didn't play. Maples, a senior, might be lost for the season, but Dixon is expected to be back against the Bulldogs. Terry Baggett has filled in nicely, posting a career-high 125 yards against the Demon Deacons. His average of 8.3 yards per carry ranks seventh in the nation among players with at least 30 rushes.