SPORTS

Clash of the Titans: Army and Navy square off this weekend

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LANDOVER, Md. (AP) - In the NFL, Tim Tebow is bringing the triple option back. At Army and Navy, they figure it never went out of style.

Plan the trips to the kitchen accordingly - because the clock should run and run and run some more, just as the teams like to do, when the academies reconvene Saturday for the 112th edition of one of the most special rivalries in sports.

"Honestly, coming in, when I initially got recruited and found out we were going to be running the triple option, I was kind of a little disappointed," said Army senior Max Jenkins, one of three quarterbacks to start a game for the Black Knights this season, "because I came from a passing offense in high school that threw the ball 30 times a game."

Now he's a convert. When his brother brought up the topic at Thanksgiving, Jenkins had a ready explanation for his change of heart.

"Actually being in it, you learn to appreciate what it does," Jenkins said. "It's not just trying to spread the field and throw it to the superior athlete. It really does take a team effort and all 11 guys in this offense, and if one guy messes up, we're going to get a loss of a couple of yards.

"But when everybody's working together and it's all clicking, it's pretty fun to have those 13-, 14-play touchdown drives and wear down defenses."

Army has the top rushing offense in the nation, averaging 350.9 yards per game. Navy is fourth at 313.7. Army has thrown only 91 passes all season, by far the fewest among FBS schools. Navy has the next fewest, having tossed the ball just 132 times.

"Once I started to finally understand it, I think this is the coolest offense there is," Navy fullback Alexander Teich said. "You leave three guys at the point of attack unblocked, that's almost unheard of in any other kind of offense. It's a fast-hit, quick-play, quick-hit, big-play kind of offense. You look at how many plays you have over 30 yards over the course of the season."

The triple option has been an unqualified success for Navy over the years, but a porous defense means the Midshipmen (4-7) won't be going to a bowl this season, ending a run of eight straight postseason appearances.

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