October 10, 2014

WEST POINT, N.Y. (AP) Army has a second chance to put together a winning streak for new coach Jeff Monken. He'd rather not think about it.

''It's one game at a time,'' Monken said. ''I don't think you use winning two games in a row as a way to measure where you are as a football team.''

The Black Knights (2-3) face Rice (2-3), which has won two straight, at Michie Stadium on Saturday. Army lost three straight on the road after opening the season with a home victory over Buffalo and is coming off a 33-24 win over Ball State.

Monken has been using A.J. Schurr and Angel Santiago at quarterback and has no plans to deviate from that strategy.

''I think they both do a good job,'' Monken said. ''I don't think there's a lot of difference when one is in the game than the other.''

Santiago is second on the team with 360 yards and five touchdowns rushing, while Schurr has 215 yards on the ground and three scores. Santiago has completed 18 of 23 passes for 288 yards and Schurr has connected on 7 of 17 throws for 123 yards and one touchdown.

Army's triple option gained 425 yards rushing against the Cardinals, the first time the Black Knights topped 400 yards since netting 516 against Eastern Michigan a year ago. The performance boosted Army to second in the country on the ground, averaging 338 yards rushing. Larry Dixon, averaging 105 yards, paces the ground game with 526 yards and four touchdowns.

With a little bit of luck, the Black Knights know they could be 4-1, a 35-0 wipeout at Stanford the only game that hasn't been close.

''Our team is playing collectively, as a group, the best it has all year,'' said Army linebacker Andrew King, who had 10 tackles against Ball State. ''When we play together, it's hard to beat us. We weren't perfect (against Ball State). We know that.''

Some things to know when Army hosts Rice on Saturday at Michie Stadium:

RICE BITS: Although Rice lost badly (48-17) to then-No. 17 Notre Dame, the Owls gained 5.6 yards per play, including 15.1 yards per completion. And in a 38-10 loss to then-No. 7 Texas A&M, the Owls outgained the Aggies on offense for the second-straight year.

MR. DO-IT-ALL DEFENSIVELY: Jeremy Timpf leads the Army defense in tackles with 46 and also has three interceptions, 5.5 tackles for loss, three pass breakups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.

BIG-PLAY JACKSON: Rice quarterback Driphus Jackson has carried much of the load for the Owls. He's connected on 73 of 123 passes for 976 yards and eight touchdowns with three interceptions and has thrown two of the five longest touchdown passes in school history. He connected with James Mayden last Saturday against Hawaii for an 81-yard score and previously set the school record with an 88-yard completion to Sam McGuffie against Houston in 2012. The Owls have 10 touchdown passes of 80 yards or longer, and Jackson is the only quarterback to have thrown more than one.

WHO'S NO. 1?: Rice nose tackle Christian Covington is a load, and Monken is well aware.

''He challenges everybody,'' Monken said. ''We have watched him on film and in every football game he makes it difficult on the offensive linemen lined up across from him.

''Whenever you see a defensive lineman wearing a single-digit number, you start to worry. He wears number one and at 300 pounds that one doesn't cover much of the jersey. He's just a terrific player. "

HEISMAN MEMORY: The Rice-Army series began in 1958 on the strength of late-game heroics by eventual Heisman Trophy winner Pete Dawkins. He caught a 64-yard touchdown pass in the waning moments to give Army a 14-7 win and preserve its undefeated season.

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