Turnovers Undo WMU Football at Kent State
KENT, Ohio -Western Michigan fell victim to one of Kent State's strengths in a 41-24 loss to the Golden Flashes as six turnovers impeded what was a stellar offensive day for the Broncos.
If you read a stat sheet that shows a team ran 93 plays for 476 yards with its quarterback throwing for over 300 yards and a receiver topping 150, you may chalk that up as a win.
That happened for the Broncos. Tyler Van Tubbergen threw for 333 yards on 30-of-57 passing, all career highs. Josh Schaffer had a career high nine grabs for 151 yards, including an 81-yard TD catch on the Broncos' second drive of the game. It was the fifth longest one-play drive in WMU history and the Broncos third one-play drive of 2012.
Looking at the other side of things also tells the story. Four Kent State drives that started because of a Western Michigan turnover resulted in 20 combined points, including the second to last where Luke Batton scooped up a Brian Fields fumble and ran 83 yards for the knock out score. At the time, WMU was at KSU's 11-yard line looking to get within three points with just under seven minutes left in the game. It was not to be.
Kent State, which ranked seventh in the nation in turnover margin (1.67) coming into the game, +10 on take aways this season, added six more tor its total against two take aways by the Broncos.
WMU turned one of the two turnovers into points. After Deauntay Legrier recovered his second career fumble, the Broncos marched down the field and scored on a one-yard Antoin Scriven burst, one of two on the day for the first time in Scriven's career, to give the Broncos a 24-17 lead with 5:19 to go in third. That lead, the only one of the game for WMU, lasted until Spencer Keith, who was 17-of-31 for 193 yards, found Josh Boyle in the back corner of the end zone to tie the game 48 seconds left in the third.
It was the first time all season either team had entered the fourth quarter tied. WMU was the first team all year to score on Kent State in the opening quarter. Van Tubbergen's 81-yard bomb to Schaffer took care of that. Andrew Haldeman added a 27-yard field goal int he second quarter to go along with Scriven's two TD runs on Saturday.
The kick was his first make in the 20-29 yard range and put WMU behind by seven heading into halftime. Scriven's first TD run capped 11-play, 68-yard drive by the Broncos to erase a 10-point first half lead for Kent State.
Eric Monette had a career high eight catches for 73 yards as Van Tubbergen found the senior wideout numerous times on the 10-yard out pattern. Brian Fields had 169 all-purpose yards with 122 coming kick returns. Dareyon Chance had 12 carries for 64 yards to lead WMU on the ground.
KSU's Dri Archer was held relatively in check. Despite scoring twice, he was held 114 yards under his per game all-purpose yard average.
Defensively, KSU's Batton, likely the Mid-American Conference East Division Defensive POTW, finished with a game best 14 tackles with two fumble recoveries, including the scoop-six, and a pass break up. WMU was led by Terry Easmon's seven stops and Lewis Toler's career high three pass break ups.
Needing to regroup and bounce back from the season's first two-game skid, WMU will now face Northern Illinois at Waldo Stadium at 12 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 27.