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Broncos Sports First Blog

  • Despite Loss To Michigan, Coach Cubit Optimistic About Season

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    Anytime you lose a game 34-10, you must try to find the positives within the negative outcome of the final score. After 7 years as WMU Head Coach, Bill Cubit knows this and believes that the first game was just a stepping stone to the Broncos ultimate goal of winning a MAC Title.

    “We see this game as a positive, especially when you watch the tape”, Cubit said at Tuesday’s Media Luncheon “When you go into these games and you can’t run the ball an inch that’s discouraging, it’s dishearten, but that’s not that case. The one thing you always look for is did our team get physically manhandled, and that didn’t happen.”

    “There’s a lot of encouraging things. Now our key is we have to keep going and we have to get better and eliminate those mistakes and improve on that. If you we we’ll be pretty good.”

    And there’s no doubt that the Broncos will be good, especially on offense.

    Alex Carder might have been the best player Saturday at Michigan. Carder finished the day with 183 yards through the air on 22 of 31 passing attempts.  The only blunder Carder had was a tipped pass returned by the Wolverines for a touchdown. But he remained calm in the pocket and did complete his first 11 passes.

    The biggest sign that this Broncos offense has the potential to be dangerous was the performance of Jordan White. Before the game was called in the 3rd quarter, White had 12 receptions and was pace to breaking the all-time single game record of 16 receptions for WMU. And had the game resumed its very likely he would have broken the record due to the score and Westerns need to throw the ball in the 4th quarter.

    Even the running game looked good against Michigan. Tevin Drake had 65 yards on 10 carries and combined the Broncos running backs averaged 8.5 yards per carry even with a depleted offensive line.

    Speaking of the O-Line, they held Michigan’s best defensive player Mike Martin to only 1 tackle and was pretty much unheard from all game.

    The Broncos will now look to take what they learned from the Michigan and obtain their first victory of the season this weekend as they take on FBS Nicholls State on Saturday.   

  • WMU Fans Vote For Name Of Horse To Lead The Broncos

    Posted by Zeke

    KALAMAZOO, MI(WKZO)-- Western Michigan has announced that they will now have a live horse leading the football team onto the field prior to games. The name of the horse is up to voters.

    Possible names are:

    • Audible
    • FightOnFightOn
    • FleaFlicker
    • Franchize
    • Glory
    • NoHuddle
    • Playmaker
    • Touchdown
    • Triumph
    • Other (write in your own name)

    Fans who vote will be eligible to win a WMU prize pack and can have their photo taken with the horse prior to the home opener on September 10th. Fans can vote here.

  • VIDEO: WMU Head Coach Bill Cubit: "We had it."

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    ANN ARBOR, MI(WKZO)-- Western Michigan Head Coach, Bill Cubit addresses the media after Western Michigan's 34-10 loss to Michigan. The game was cancelled late in the third quarter due to lightning.

  • Broncos Lose to Michigan 34-10 After Lightning Shortens Game To 3 Quarters

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    Ann Arbor, MI (WKZO) – After talk and deliberation, it was decided between the head coaches and athletic departments to end the contest between Western Michigan and Michigan early due to lightning.

    With 1:27 left in the 3rd quarter, a second stoppage in play was issued when lightning entered the Ann Arbor area.

    While a comeback from the Broncos could have happened, all be it unlikely, the head coaches and athletic departments for both schools decided that the best interest for the student athletes was to end the game early with Michigan in the lead 34-10.

    The first delay in the game came at the 13:45 mark of the third quarter. This delay lasted only 30 minutes before the players returned to action.

    It was unfortunately the game was called early because it didn’t allow the Broncos a chance to comeback from the 24 point deficit. It may have also saved a Bronco record from being broken.

    Jordan White had 12 receptions for 112 yards and was on pace to top the all-time Bronco record of 16 receptions in a game, set by 2 former Broncos, Greg Jennings in 2005 and Jamie Hence in 1987.

    Michigan Linebacker Brandon Herron had a career day, as he returned an interception and a fumble for touchdowns. Herron’s intercepted a tipped Alex Carder pass at the 6 yard line and returned it to the house for a 94 yard return, the longest interception return in Wolverines history. Herron later returned a fumble 27 yards for a touchdown, giving Michigan a 27-10 lead early in the 3rd quarter.

    The Broncos did shine early, taking their opening drive of the game 74 yards on 15 plays, and after an Antoin Scriven 1 yard touchdown run, the Broncos were up 7-0.

    Michigan running back Fitzgerald Toussaint tied the game at 7 with a 2 yard TD run in the 2nd quarter. Toussaint found the end zone again later in the 2nd quarter to put the Wolverines up 20-7.

    John Potter kicked a 36 yard field goal before half time to cut the lead to 20-10.

    Michael Shaw added a 44 touchdown run, making the score 34-10 before the final delay ended the game.

    GAME NOTES: Alex Carder finished the day 22 of 31 for 183 yards…Tevin Drake led the Broncos in rushing with 65 yards on 10 carries…White had 9 of his 12 receptions in the first half…Dervon Wallace had 6 kick returns at an average of almost 32 yards per return… Herron’s two defensive touchdowns were the first in Michigan history…The attendance for the game was announced at 110,506…The Broncos return to action next Saturday at Waldo Stadium against 1AA opponent Nicholls State. WMU beat Nicholls last season 49-14. Western Michigan will be celebrating CommUniversity Night. Kickoff is set for 7pm

     

          

  • Preview: Western Michigan vs. Michigan

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    We’re finally here. Saturday at 3:30 the Western Michigan Broncos will take the field against the Michigan Wolverines in the opening weekend of college football. The Broncos will open at a Big Ten venue for the fourth time under Coach Bill Cubit and is looking for its first season-opening win since 2004. For the Broncos to capture their first victory against Michigan here are 5 keys to the game.

    1.  The Broncos must survive the first quarter. If there is any chance for the Broncos to win on Saturday they must get off to a hot start. On paper the Broncos are clearly outmatched by a superior Wolverine Team. With 110,000 plus in attendance the last thing the Broncos can afford is too allow the crowd to become involved in the game. Last season when the Broncos took on Michigan State and Notre Dame, the Broncos allowed them to put up points early and never found a way to come back. Stop the big play and survive the first quarter and anything can happen.  

    2. Force Shoelace to be a passer. Denard Robinson might be the most dynamic player in college football. Robinson set an NCAA record in 2010 for rushing yards by a quarterback with 1702.  His speed and quick acceleration puts fear into any defense. But under new Head Coach Brady Hoke’s more pro-style offense, Robinson will be asked to be more of a pocket passer. The Broncos need to spy Robinson at all times and keep him in the pocket. If the Broncos can stop #16, it’ll go a long way in being able to upset the Wolverines.  

    3. Limit turnovers. Anytime you are an underdog, the most important key to a game is limiting turnovers. Last season, the Broncos lost crucial games due to late game turnovers. Michigan was 3-0 in 2010 when winning the turnover battle while the Broncos were 0-5 when losing the turnover battle. Limit turnovers and this game could be a lot closer than most experts are predicting. 

    4. Win the special teams battle. The Broncos have maybe the best punter and kicker in the MAC with Ben Armer and John Potter. When 4th down does arise, the Broncos must pin the Wolverines deep in their own territory. Broncos return man Dervon Wallace has the potential to take any kick return to the house and will be relied upon heavily to get the Broncos good starting field position.

    5. Offensive line must protect Alex Carder. With 2 key members of the offensive line out with injuries, it is imperative to stop the Wolverines dominate front 4. Starting guards Kasimli Uitalia and Deon Cammock and both junior college transfers who have never faced an opponent as strong as Michigan. If Carder is giving time to find his receivers, the Broncos offense has the ability to make big plays.

    Matchup to Watch: WMU Center Terry Davisson vs. UM Defensive Tackle Mike Martin. Davisson started 3 games at right tackle and was moved to guard at the beginning of training camp. However, with the injury to Kevin Galeher, Davisson has now been moved to center and has struggled with the adjustment. He has been rotating with junior Josh Hadel during practice and has yet to solidify the starting center spot. Mike Martin is a beast in the middle of the Wolverine’s D-Line. At 6’2 and 300 pounds, Martin was named as Michigan’s top defensive lineman and was All-Big-Ten Second Team in 2010. Martin is also ranked as the second best defensive tackle in the country by ESPNs Mel Kiper. Keeping Martin quiet will allow the Broncos run game to gain yardage and give Alex Carder plenty of time in the pocket.

    Prediction: If the Broncos can eliminate mistakes on both sides of the ball, I see them keeping it closer enough to cover the 14 point spread, but not winning. MICHIGAN 35 WESTERN MICHIGAN 24

  • VIDEO:WMU Safety Johnnie Simon: "We're confident"

    Posted by Zeke

    KALAMAZOO, MI(WKZO)--Western Michigan Safety Johnnie Simon speaks with Broncos Sports First about the challenge that the Broncos face defensively Saturday vs Denard Robinson and the Michigan Wolverines.

  • Juwan Howard Jr. Not Returning to Western Michigan for Fall Semester

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – Broncos Sophomore forward Juwan Howard Jr., will not be returning for the fall semester according to The Western Michigan University Division of Intercollegiate Athletics due to personal reasons.

    "We stand by the decision Juwan and his family have made 100 percent," commented WMU head men's basketball coach Steve Hawkins. ""It is very important that Juwan focuses on his best interests, and for that reason, we ask that the public and media respect his and his family's privacy at this time."

    Howard, the son of former Michigan Fab Five member Juwan Howard, averaged 9.3 points and 4 rebounds in 23 minutes during the 2010-2011 season. 

  • 15 Questions About the Broncos 2011 Season

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    We are now less than 3 days away from the opening weekend in college football, and as Western Michigan prepares for their first game at Michigan, let’s take a look at 10 questions facing the Broncos as they look to win the MAC Title for the first time since 1988.

    1. After a sensational sophomore season, can Alex Carder continue to improve? Carder threw for more than 3300 yards and 30 touchdowns during the 2010 campaign, so repeating those numbers will be a difficult task to accomplish. But with a year under his belt, Carder should feel much more confident under center and should contribute to him making fewer mistakes. What doesn’t work in his favor is the improvement of the running game. Carder made 458 passing attempts in 2010. That number will drop with the running backs getting more carries, and most likely his passing yards will drop as well. I expect Carder to finish the season with around 3000 yards and 27 touchdowns.

    2. Can Tevin Drake hold down the #1 running back spot all season? When Coach Cubit moved last year’s starting running back Aaron Winchester to cornerback, it all but wrapped up the number 1 spot for Drake. Drake played in only 7 games as a freshman, but when he did take the field, he made the most of the playing time he received.  In 2010, Drake finished with a team high 405 yards on only 40 attempts, averaging over 10 yards per carry. During the final 2 games of the season he ran for over 200 yards. Drake has the unique combination of power and speed and as long as he remains healthy there’s no reason why he can’t finish with over 1000 yards and 10 touchdowns. He’ll get constant pressure from Brian Fields and Dareyon Chance for playing time, still Drake will see the majority of the carries this season.

    3. Will the combination of Robert Arnheim, Chleb Ravenell and Eric Monette help with the loss of Juan Nunez?  Juan Nunez had 91 receptions for over 1000 yards last year so finding someone to replace him will be a difficult challenge. Arnheim, Ravenell and Monette have looked good in practice but only Arnheim saw the field last year. Jordan White will be the most targeted wide receiver, so finding a reliable number 2 will be key to the Broncos success.

    4. Speaking of Jordan White, how many receiving records will he break in 2011? White is well on his way of joining WMU legends Greg Jennings and Jamarko Simmons as one of the best receivers in Bronco history.  If White can duplicate the numbers he put up in 2010, he will become the Broncos all-time leader in career receptions and receiving yards. He already holds the record for most receiving yards in a season. For the Broncos offense to be successful in 2011, White will need to have a big year.   

    5. Will the inexperience of the offensive line be a concern? With Nick Mitchell, Phil Swanson, and Nick Clemens all graduating, the offensive line lost 3 major contributors from 2010. Replacing them was originally going to be Terry Davisson, Kevin Galeher, and Greg Peterson. But with Galeher and Peterson out with injuries (both expected to be out until the beginning of October) and Davisson struggling to adjust to the center position, the offensive line has now become a giant concern. Junior college transfers Kasimili Uitalia and Deon Cammock are being used at the guard positions while Josh Hadel is rotating at center with Davisson.  The O-Line will be tested early with games against Michigan, Illinois and UConn and will have to be near perfect for the Broncos to defeat one of the BCS teams on their schedule.

    6. How dominate can the Broncos front 4 be? With all 4 starters returning, and numerous backups seeing significant playing time in 2010, the Broncos front 4 might be the best in the MAC. Paul Hazel led the team in sacks last year and has that rare speed at the end position that puts fear into opposing offensive lines. Travonte Boles started all 12 games last year as a true freshman, and after losing some weight during the offseason he is poised to have a dominate season in the middle.

    7. Can Johnnie Simon effectively replace Jamail Berry? Jamail Berry finished 2010 with the 2nd most tackles for the Broncos and sophomore Johnnie Simon has the difficult task of replacing Berry at the rover position. Simon has been giving much praise from Coach Cubit. But with the praise comes responsibility. Simon is ready for the challenge and has worked hard in the offseason in preparation for the 2011 season.

    8. Will the real Doug Wiggins please stand up?  Wiggins transferred to WMU after one season with the Miami Hurricanes and hasn’t yet lived up to the 4 star recruit he received coming out of high school. As one of the only seniors in the secondary, Wiggins needs to become the leader of the secondary for the Broncos defense to be successful.

    9. How will Aaron Winchester adjust to life as a cornerback? Winchester was moved to cornerback during the first week of training camp and has adjusted well to the switch from running back. He has worked hard and has already secured one of the starting cornerback positions opposite Lewis Toler. Winchester might struggle against taller receivers, as he stands only 5’6. But he is fast and physical, and the coaching staff won’t allow him to be put into too many one on one matchups.

    10. Can the Broncos beat Central? The last time Western Michigan beat their arch rival, Central Michigan, was 2005. After five consecutive losses, nothing needs to be said to the Broncos about that stat. After a heartbreaking loss to the Chippewas last year in Mount Pleasant, the Broncos should have nothing but revenge on their minds. That loss combined with the fact that the game is the third game of the season and at home, should make for a good game.

    11. Will the Broncos go to a bowl game this year? The Broncos have been to three bowl games (four if you count the now defunct Aviation Bowl) in school history, two of those came under current Head Coach, Bill Cubit. Although the Broncos finished 6-6 last season they were not invited to a bowl. If the Broncos can improve upon their play, theres no reason they shouldn't be playing in a bowl game this season.

    12. How much better will the Bronco defense be as a whole? The Broncos are entering their second season with Defensive Coordinator Dave Cohen at the helm. Up to this point, the defense has looked more confident all around. As mentioned before, most people will be looking at the defensive line's production but dont forget about the linebackers and the rest of the secondary. Leaders such as preseason All-MAC first team selection Lewis Toler and preseason All-MAC second team selection Mitch Zajac should help make the defense one of the best units in the conference.

    13. To what extent will the Tight End position be used? Much has been mad about the receiving corps of the Broncos but if they can get a decent amount of production from the Tight End spot, they can be even more explosive. Senior Tight End Dallas Walker and company having a productive year can only make quarterback Alex Carder better.

    14. Will kicker John Potter and punter Ben Armer continue their excellence? Last year, Potter made 50 out of his attempted 50 extra points and 83 percent of his field goals, only missing two all season. Armer had 14 punts land inside the 20 yard line and 10 punts of 50 yards or more.The importance of special teams cannot be understated. Having a solid kicking and punting game helps a team win the ever important field position battle.

    15. Can the Broncos win the MAC? Sure, why not? The team returns 21 of 25 starters from 2011 so the experience factor plays in the Broncos favor. The Broncos finished 2010 winning their final 3 games at an average score of 41-13. As long as they continue the momentum they built last year, I see them going 6-2 in the MAC and 8-4 overall. It will be key for the Broncos to win at least one game against UConn or Illinois and at least one tough road game against MAC West foes Toledo and Northern Illinois. If they can do that a MAC Championship game will be in the Broncos future.