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End Zone

Sometimes, especially around the fall months every year, there's so much on the sports plate that using this space for just one topic simply doesn't work. Such is the case now, so let's make it a trifecta...

• Air Force football: Watching the Falcons pound on Oklahoma's defense last Saturday — adding up to an amazing 25 first downs, 11 of 18 third-down conversions, 351 rushing yards and 458 total yards — several thoughts came to mind.

One, this wasn't trickery. Air Force wasn't just running the triple-option incessantly, hoping for defensive breakdowns. Repeatedly, the Falcons simply attacked with straight-ahead runs by fullback Jared Tew and tailback Asher Clark, both with consistent success. Quarterback Tim Jefferson mixed in the option, quick pitches and passes to keep the Sooners off-balance and less aggressive.

I'm trying to remember when the AFA offense put up such numbers, plus a healthy time-of-possession edge, against a Top 10 opponent. Nothing comes to mind.

Later, you would've thought the Associated Press national poll voters had been watching OU's 27-24 victory together. They put Air Force at the top of "others receiving votes" below the Top 25, putting the Falcons in position to spend time in the rankings this season — as long as they don't stumble this weekend at Wyoming, or next week at home against Navy. Neither of those will be easy, but the confidence gained from standing up to Oklahoma should have an after-effect, at least until the Falcons go to TCU on Oct. 23.

• Denver Broncos: Yes, Seattle made it easier for the Broncos last Sunday, but that won't happen this week when Indianapolis comes to Invesco Field. Peyton Manning will be looking for ways to pick apart Denver's defense, especially if he doesn't face much of a pass rush.

But the Broncos have a better chance with the added offensive dimension of running back Knowshon Moreno. The way he ran against Seattle reminded me of Moreno's style in college at Georgia. He still hasn't proven he was worth Denver drafting him in the middle of the first round last year, but he's coming closer.

Remember how second-year Houston runner Arian Foster shredded the Colts for 231 yards and three touchdowns? You can be sure Denver's coaches have studied that video. And if Kyle Orton can use that balance to continue finding rookie receiver Demaryius Thomas, who had eight catches against Seattle, that gives the Broncos better versatility than they've had in a while.

Still not sure about Denver's defense, with the linebackers not making enough plays and the down linemen virtually invisible so far. Yes, the secondary intercepted three Seattle passes, but cornerback Champ Bailey came away hobbling. If he can't go, we'll see how that translates against Indy.

Bottom line, with ominous trips coming up to Tennessee and Baltimore, followed by the New York Jets coming to Denver, this is where the Broncos must raise their level of play considerably to avoid a four-game losing streak.

• Olympic Committee: Having the U.S. Olympic Assembly this weekend at the Antlers Hilton, bringing the leadership of the USOC and its member sports to Colorado Springs, might not generate big headlines. But it's an opportunity for a new batch of 400-plus Olympic Committee insiders to learn about this city's role in the USOC's evolution. There should be some kind of presentation to that effect.

That lesson could start with figure skating and hockey headquartering here long before the USOC decided in the mid-1970s to move Olympic House from Manhattan. It also could include the National Sports Festivals of 1978, 1979 and 1983, the latter with those back-to-back world records in the men's (Calvin Smith) and women's (Evelyn Ashford) 100 meters.

Such a refresher course would be another step toward building a stronger relationship between the USOC and its hometown, not to mention its home state. Our next mayor and governor should understand the need to forge much closer ties with the Olympic Committee than just the ceremonial kind.



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