Army in first bowl in 14 years
DALLAS -- Army is headed to its first bowl game in 14 years.
The Black Knights on Tuesday accepted an invitation to the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl in Dallas. Army had an agreement to play in the game if it was bowl eligible before the regular season finale against Navy and either Conference USA or the Mountain West couldn't fill their allotments.
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The opening was there because No. 3 TCU qualified for the BCS, leaving the Mountain West with four teams for five bowl slots.
Army (6-5) will play a C-USA team Dec. 30 at SMU's Ford Stadium, the bowl's temporary home while TCU's Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth undergoes renovations. The Black Knights won their sixth game Nov. 13 against Kent State.
The last postseason bid for Army was the Independence Bowl in 1996, the last winning season for the Black Knights. They started that year 9-0 and wound up 10-2 after losing to Auburn 32-29 in Shreveport, La.
The road back to the postseason has been difficult. Army has won more than three games just five times in the past 14 seasons, including both years under coach Rich Ellerson. The Black Knights had a rare 13-loss season in 2003, when they were mired in a 17-game losing streak.
"One of our mantras every time we break a huddle before a practice or after a practice, we talk about staying together and we talk about bringing it back," Ellerson said. "We say bring it back, we're talking about bringing winning football back to West Point. It belongs here."
Before the bowl game, though, is the annual Army-Navy game on Dec. 11 in Philadelphia. The Midshipmen (9-3) are headed to the Poinsettia Bowl on Dec. 23 in San Diego, their eighth straight bowl appearance.
"We have our heads down," Ellerson said. "The focus right now is on Navy."
Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press
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