Yeah, its Nicholls State. What more needs to be said?
Just kidding kiddies, I'll be more thorough.
For the 2nd straight season, Nicholls State makes a visit to Kalamazoo from Louisiana for Western's home opener, in the 2nd week. Last year, Western was coming off a game where they went to a Big 10 opponent, played decently for a half, turned the ball over though, and got behind and just played bad the 2nd half. Hmmmmmm, sounds familiar.........(repressed memories)
Anyways, last year, Nicholls State was able to tie the game at 14 with under 5 minutes to go in the 2nd quarter, before Western ran away with a 49-14 victory. Yeah, I VIVIDLY remember fuming over this game's first half (21-14 lead at half) before seeing the full Western team come out and dominate. Bronco fans DO NOT want to see the same thing this year, at all. It will spell signs of another up and down year, with a tougher schedule. I do not expect that to happen however.
More after the jump........
Last year, Carder went 24-33 for 298 yds and 5 TDs, but also threw an INT. Western ran for a net 129 yards (that includes Carder's 2 sacks) on 43 carries. Thats 3 yds/carry. Western however ran good against Michigan, so I'm not worried about that. This team is more well rounded overall, and should give the Colonels fits all night.
Defensively, Western only forced 2 turnovers (both fumbles), but only allowed 241 yards of offense, and that includes at 52 yd TD run to tie it up at 7. (The other TD was a 4 yd pass following the Carder INT). Can't be upset with those numbers.
So looking back, Western's OFFENSE was the problem, but with it being Carder's 2nd start, that could be expected. Now it's his 2nd year, and this offense is much better.
Nicholls State looks to have graduated their leading rusher from last year's game (15 carries for 92 yds). But their best rusher last week, LaQuintin Caston, had 137 on 16 carries over Evangel. Not quality, but still, give him props. Uh, he seems to be their QB too? He went 5-13 for 39 yds with a TD and a INT. Is this the same thing as playing Michigan, only, you know, without superior talent? Well, their "back-up" QB went 5-9 for 57 yds and a TD. So a running offense.
Alright, so my prediction. This Western team is head and shoulders above last year's team. Nicholls State is coming off a sloppy game over a sloppy team (courtesy the box score). If Western doesn't win this game by 50, they either gave pity after halftime, or you'll see me, WMUpilot, and BroncosFightOn all write our hate pieces on Sunday and Monday (well, I will at least). This game better be flawless, especially with Cubit's tenure on the line next week. I see Western playing their first half game from last week, only without the turnovers and failed opportunities. Final score: Western Michigan 56, Nicholls State 0