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College football notebook: Triple-option serves service academies well

| Thursday, Oct. 3, 2013, 10:34 p.m.
Air Force's Karson Roberts (16) runs through the Nevada defense during the second half of a game in Reno, Nev., on Saturday, Sept. 28, 2013.

Despite the federal government shutdown, the Department of Defense approved Saturday's football games involving the service academies: Air Force-Navy in Annapolis, Md., and Army-Boston College in Chestnut Hill, Mass.

Army, Navy and Air Force feature unique offenses based on their utilization of the triple-option to help lessen the talent disparity. Here's a closer look at those games: Army ranks No. 2 nationally in rushing, averaging 325.4 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry. Army leads the nation with 299 rushing attempts. Conversely, Army has attempted only 57 passes, third fewest overall, and are 123rd (last) in passing offense.

• Navy is No. 6 in rushing, averaging 301 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry. The Midshipmen have rushed 165 times and are No. 116 in passing offense while attempting the fewest passes in the country (37 ).

• Air Force ranks No. 8 in rushing, averaging 296 yards per game and 5.4 yards per carry. Air Force is second nationally behind Army with 273 rushes. Air Force ranks No. 120 in passing offense and its 70 passes are the sixth fewest in the country. Believe it or not, Air Force is passing more than last year when it ran nearly six times as many rushing plays as passing plays and didn't throw once in a win over Hawaii.

• West Virginia enters Saturday's game at No. 17 Baylor ranked No. 57 in passing offense. In his first two years, WVU coach Dana Holgorsen's passing offenses ranked No. 10 and No. 6. Prior to WVU, Holgorsen's passing offenses at Oklahoma State, Houston and Texas Tech finished among the top three each year from 2005-10.

— John Harris

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