Before the season started, few fans would have penciled in Louisiana Tech as one of Army's biggest games of the season.
However, coming off last week's devastating 27-24 overtime loss at Buffalo, Louisiana Tech is big. The question is, which way do the Black Knights go? They were streaking, winning two in a row, entering the Buffalo game. Army should be 3-4 instead of 2-5, that's a big difference, especially when you are dreaming of a bowl game.
The Black Knights can't let the Buffalo loss keep them down. It will be interesting to see how Army comes out against Louisiana Tech (3-3).
"I'd be lying if I said it wasn't a devastating loss to deal with," Army safety Lowell Garthwaite said of the Buffalo game. "We really put our heart into it and felt we had it won, we all did. We have to move on. We've watched film, saw what we did negatively and saw what we did positively. We'll learn from the negatives and drive on."
Drew Willy threw two touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, including a 15-yarder to Ernest Jackson with 4:19 left, to rally the Bulls back from a 14-point deficit. A.J. Principe then hit a 34-yard field goal in the first overtime to seal a 27-24 victory over Army. It was an ironic loss, considering Buffalo had blown leads earlier in the year.
Buffalo gave up a 14-point lead in final five minutes in a 34-28 overtime loss to Western Michigan two weeks ago. In their previous game, the Bulls blew an 18-17 fourth-quarter lead to lose 27-25 at Central Michigan when Principe's 46-yard field-goal attempt hit the upright as time ran out. Army now knows how Buffalo feels.
"We came away from the game in Buffalo very disappointed," Army coach Stan Brock said. "That one hurt a lot. I felt that we were prepared to go up there and win that football game. I felt like we were playing well enough but some things happened at different times that hurt us. It was all of us: coaches and players. When they win, they win as a team. When we lose, we lose as a whole group. That was disappointing, but we will come back from it. There were a lot of positives that came out of it."
Despite the loss, there are some positives. For starters, in their hearts, the Black Knights know they should have won the game. Many teams could go south after a loss like last week's. But, although the true litmus test comes on Saturday, Army seems psychologically ready to go.
Army will face a Louisiana Tech team that is 3-3. Louisiana Tech likes to open it up on offense, throwing the ball around the field. Louisiana Tech's three wins have come against Mississippi State, Idaho and Southeastern Idaho, with its three losses coming to Boise State, Hawaii and Kansas.
Army-Louisana Tech should be a close game and the Black Knights should learn from the hard lesson in Buffalo last week.
"Don't be content," Garthwaite said. "You have to fight through to the fourth quarter, every single play. We were all fighting but you have to focus on every single play like it's your last. You can't mentally leave your guard down."
Army moving on after tough Buffalo loss
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