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Triple the options, triple the fun

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Jim Rogash

As you may or may not know, the triple option offense was developed by Satan himself. It is an exceedingly silly offense and only crazy coaches and service academies install it nowadays. The service academies run the triple option out of necessity...Bob Davie runs it because he has a screw loose. The triple option really is a lot like the rock band Nickelback—almost universally despised, but then you're like "why do they have all these gold records?" The triple option's gold records are inflated rushing numbers, but they'll never be a critical hit, and you can FORGET about a Grammy.

There are a few different types of triple option offense, and the one the Lobos employ is probably closest to the wishbone variety. They chew up yards on the ground at a rate of 304 yards per game on average (5th in the nation). This number is just 60 yards shy of the total offensive output the Broncos are surrendering this season per game...and wouldn't you know it—the Lobos offense chips in a shade more than that through the air (74.6 yards/game). This isn't some anomaly...what you get with New Mexico is what you get. They are one-dimensional and they pride themselves on it. Thankfully, the Broncos are fairly adept at stopping the run—at least when it comes at them in a more straightforward manner.

This Saturday, you're liable to see New Mexico reel off some solid runs. They may even convert some 3rd and longs on the ground they have no business converting (don't count on it...the Lobos have been successful only 37% of the time on 3rd downs this season). The greater point is that New Mexico, while not a good team—in fact, far from it—WILL have some success running this wacky offense. It can be a neutralizer—chewing up yards, and clock. It shouldn't be this weekend. Their biggest failing? Their defense, which of late has been as good at surrendering rushing yards as their offense has been at creating them. The Lobos have given up more than 200 rushing yards in 3 straight contests...and nearly 400 to the last team they played with a formidable rusher (SDSU's Donnel Pumphrey). This bodes quite well for the Broncos, specifically rusher-extraordinaire Jay Ajayi, who needs just 15 rushing yards to again break the 1,000 yard rushing plateau. Ajayi should do this on the first offensive series, and from there things might get out of hand in Albuquerque.

Fear not, Bronco Nation. The triple-option may trigger your Air Force game night sweats, but as I recall, it wasn't the Air Force offense that sunk the Broncos in Colorado Springs. It was an offense, to be sure (ours)...but it wasn't scheme. The Broncos are keenly aware of the minefield this offense presents, and this time I think will be content to just go around.