WMU Football and Ball State Battle in OT Thriller
The winning play for Ball State, a 15-yard run with tacklers draped on him by Jahwan Edwards, or a missed FG on the Broncos' opening possession of OT is not as significant as to what led up to the overtime period itself. That drama began with 13:46 to go in the fourth quarter.
The Bronco defense was facing a Cardinal first-and-goal from the one-yard line and clinging to a 21-17 lead. A false start pushed BSU back to the six and then Kyle Lark's first career sack pushed the Cardinals back to the 16-yard line. Jamill Smith was called for an illegal pass that put the ball at the WMU 26-yard line on fourth down. BSU punter Scott Kovanda bobbled the snap on the 45-yard field goal attempt and Lark corralled Kovanda at the 35-yard line for the turnover on downs.
On WMU's ensuing drive the Broncos, who had not ran a play in Ball State territory in the third quarter, drove to the Cardinals' 10-yard line. Facing third-and-five, Tyler Van Tubbergen, who finished with 202 yards and a TD on 16-for-31 passing, found Blake Hammond in the end zone but after further review, Hammond's acrobatic double clutching catch was no good. Andrew Haldeman missed on a 28-yard attempt that would have given WMU a seven point lead.
Move ahead to 7:33 remaining and Ball State driving in WMU territory. On first-and-10 from the WMU 25-yard line, Barrington Scott carried up the middle. Freddie Bishop followed Scott through the hole and punched the ball out, forcing a fumble that was recovered by Justin Currie.
WMU went three-and-out, giving the ball back Ball State with 2:54 remaining. Nine plays later, Smith was sliding in the back of the end zone with an 11-yard TD catch for the 24-21 lead.
The Broncos started their final drive with 43 seconds remaining. After a Tony Martin interception was fumbled, Kendrick Roberts recovered to put the ball on the 34-yard line with five seconds remaining. The only call was a 52-yard FG attempt by Haldeman. It was the longest attempt of his career, the fourth longest FG in program history, and it was good.
WMU played in its first overtime game since Oct. 24, 2009, winning 34-31 vs. Buffalo on Homecoming. The Broncos suffered their first OT loss since falling to BSU in five overtimes, 60-57, on Oct. 8, 2005.
Dareyon Chance went over the 100-yard mark for the third time this season with 116 yards on 11 carries. Brian Fields added 96 yards on a career high 18 carries. Schaffer led the Bronco receivers with 90 yards on six catches, including a 45-yard TD catch at the 14:20 mark of the second quarter. It was the longest pass play for WMU thus far in 2012.
Defensively, three Broncos finished with 10 or more tackles led by Terry Easmon's 15 stops. Johnnie Simon added 12 tackles as well as a huge pass break up in the end zone to save a TD. Bishop also had a career high 10 stops with 1.5 sacks. The Bronco defense amassed 4.0 sacks against Ball State, a team that had given up a total of three through its first six games of the season.
Western Michigan must regroup as it heads back out on the road for an inter-divisional showdown with Kent State at 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 20.