Broncos Drub Minutemen in Homecoming Victory
The WMU defense stymied the Minutemen's attack throughout, using a dominant first half to put the game out of reach early. The Broncos held the Minutemen to just 96 total yards in the first half, with 38 of those yards coming in UMass's one scoring drive of the half. In fact, both of UMass's scores on the day came in the final minutes of their respective halves, with WMU firmly in control in the interim.
Overall, the Broncos held the Minutemen to 218 offensive yards and forced three turnovers, and the Bronco pass rush recorded four sacks and three quarterback hurries against UMass's Mike Wegzyn. Freddie Bishop finished with eight tackles, 2.0 tackles for loss, and 1.5 sacks, and Travonte Boles had four total tackles for loss as the Bronco front seven sliced through the Minuteman offensive line for 8.0 tackles for loss.
The Bronco offense was equally sharp, with a host of players getting involved in the winning effort. Van Tubbergen was responsible for six total touchdowns in the game, including five passing scores and his first career rushing touchdown, and finished 23 of 28 for 283 yards. Running back Antoin Scriven had 86 all-purpose yards to go with both a rushing and receiving touchdown, and 11 different players caught passes in the game, including Jaime Wilson, who had a game-high 88 yards on four catches and one touchdown.
Van Tubbergen's last touchdown pass was also the prettiest of the lot. With the Broncos leading the Minutemen 35-7 in the third quarter, Van Tubbergen lofted a high fade to Wilson in the back corner of the end zone. Wilson got behind his defender and hauled the pass in with one hand to cap a five-play, 45-yard scoring drive, giving the Broncos a 42-7 lead with 9:22 remaining in the third quarter.
Van Tubbergen would lead one more touchdown drive before calling it a day, pushing the offense 99 yards for a score. Starting on the WMU 1 with 8:14 remaining in the third quarter, Brian Fields and Dareyon Chance alternated carries and moved the Broncos from the shadows of their own goalposts to the WMU 43. Van Tubbergen completed a 16-yard pass to Josh Schaffer on 3rd-and-4 to put the Broncos on the UMass 36, and Fields got the Broncos to the red zone with a 14-yard rush that put WMU on the 12-yard line.
Van Tubbergen connected on a pass with Blake Hammond, who was tackled at the UMass 1, and Van Tubbergen would roll out on a bootleg right on the next play, winning a footrace to the pylon to score his first career rushing touchdown. Andrew Haldeman kicked the extra point to give the Broncos a 49-7 lead with 38 seconds remaining in the quarter.
The Broncos broke a scoreless stalemate in the first quarter by using a trio of running backs to pile up yards. With the Broncos starting the drive on their own 46-yard line, Chance took a draw hand-off and sliced through the middle of the line for a 17-yard gain; on the very next play, Scriven took a swing pass from Van Tubbergen and went 19 yards down the sideline to put WMU inside the red zone at the UMass 18.
The Broncos completed the drive two plays later when Fields took a screen pass from Van Tubbergen on the right side of the formation, bouncing off a tackler at the 3-yard line and spinning into the end zone for the score. Haldeman's kick gave the Broncos a 7-0 lead with 5:34 remaining.
The Broncos built the lead to two touchdowns on their next drive, with Van Tubbergen again spreading the ball around the line-up. Facing a 1st-and-10 from the WMU 28, Van Tubbergen completed a screen pass to Chance, who followed a convoy of blockers in gaining 32 yards and reaching the UMass 40. Van Tubbergen called his own number on the next play, tucking the ball and rushing out ot his left for a 15-yard gain, and went on to hit Schaffer on the left sideline two plays later to get inside the five-yard line.
A holding penalty pushed the Broncos back to the 13-yard line, but WMU overcame the gaffe to score on the next play. Van Tubbergen hit Justin Collins on a crossing route, and Collins went untouched into the end zone for his first career touchdown, capping the eight-play, 84-yard drive and giving the Broncos a 14-0 lead.
WMU broke the game open just moments later, when an odd special teams miscue gave the Broncos the opportunity to widen the gap over the Minutemen to an insurmountable level. Haldeman's low line-drive kickoff struck UMass's John Brandt at midfield, with the ball careening off Brandt and back towards the Broncos' kick coverage unit. Jarrell McKinney pounced on the loose ball to give the Broncos possession at their own 46-yard line.
On the first play of the drive, Van Tubbergen lofted a bomb to Wilson along the left sideline for a 38-yard gain, putting the Broncos on the UMass 16; two plays later, facing a 2nd-and-short from the seven-yard line, Van Tubbergen rolled to his right and found Matt Cutler on a flare route for the easy touchdown score. Haldeman booted the extra point to give the Broncos a 21-0 lead with 13:11 remaining in the half.
The Broncos tacked on another touchdown before half when Scriven went off left tackle with 9:24 remaining for a two-yard touchdown plunge, making it 28-0; Scriven would go on to score the first touchdown of the second half as well, hauling in a pass from Van Tubbergen from three yards out and reaching the end zone for the second time in the game.