Broncos Take Care of Business in 52-21 Home-Opening Win
The Broncos did not allow Eastern Illinois (1-1) a first down in the second quarter and rattled off four touchdowns of their own, taking a 42-14 lead into halftime.
True freshman wideout Jamie Wilson continued to impress, hauling in two touchdowns, and making 11 receptions for 154 yards. It was the most reception yards for a freshman since Corey Alston had 263 in 1997. Wilson also fielded three punt returns for 104 yards, with his longest return going for 48 yards.
Senior tight end Blake Hammond also had a pair of touchdown receptions, and finished the night with six catches for 94 yards. Under center, senior quarterback Alex Carder rebounded from the hard loss at Illinois with 29 completions, 364 yards and five touchdowns.
Western Michigan totaled 239 yards on the ground, primarily using a four-back attack consisting of Brian Fields (14 carries, 66 yards), Tevin Drake (eight carries, 60 yards), Dareyon Chance (seven carries, 58 yards) and Antoin Scriven (eight carries, 29 yards, one TD).
The Broncos opened the game with a 67-yard drive, in which Hammond pulled down a 33-yard pass from Carder. It was capped by a nine-yard end-around touchdown run by Daniel Braverman on his first collegiate carry.
Eastern Illinois responded with a touchdown, a 17-yard run by Jake Walker, on its first possession to tie the score at seven-all. Carder then led WMU on a 55-yard drive, completing 5-of-6 passes along the way, including strikes of 20 and 13 yards to Wilson. Senior tight end Matt Cutler pulled in a two-yard touchdown catch.
EIU came up with another answer, in the form of a nine-play, 93-yard drive, to lock the score at 14-14. Chris Wright made an 18-yard touchdown reception for the Panthers. From there, it was all Western Michigan, as the Broncos rattled off 31-straight points before EIU scored again in the fourth quarter.
Western Michigan's defense held Eastern Illinois without a first down in the second quarter, as the Panthers went 0-for-5 on third-down conversions and 0-for-2 on fourth down conversions. EIU would pick up just one first down in the third quarter.
Carder hooked up with Wilson for a 35-yard catch during WMU's first drive of the second quarter and Hammond caught a one-yard touchdown pass. The Broncos' next drive began with a 43-yard catch by Hammond and ended with a two-yard Carder-to-Hammond touchdown, as WMU pushed the score to 28-14.
A seven-yard sack by Legrier pinned Eastern Illinois deep in its own territory with five minutes remaining in the half. Wilson fielded the punt at midfield and returned it 33 yards to the Panther 17, and then made a 13-yard touchdown reception.
Western Michigan got the ball back with great field position with 1:35 remaining in the half. Faced with a fourth-and-10 from their own 23, Eastern Illinois attempted a fake punt and the Broncos weren't biting. The result was a loss of three on the play and first and 20 for WMU. Carder then found Wilson for a 16-yard one-handed grab in the endzone.
The Broncos extended their lead to 45-14 in the third quarter when redshirt freshman kicker Andrew Haldeman booted his first collegiate field goal through the uprights. EIU opened the fourth with a six-yard touchdown run by Taylor Duncan. Western Michigan finished the scoring with a one-yard TD run by Scriven midway through the final quarter.
Western Michigan takes on its second Big Ten opponent in its first three games next Saturday, Sept. 15, traveling to Minnesota for an 11 a.m. CT kickoff. That game will be aired on the Big Ten Network. Minnesota defeated New Hampshire 44-7 Saturday, Sept. 8.