Bronco fans! We can take a huge sigh of relief. *deep exhale* Our offense looked great Saturday, and our young wide-outs and TE core really came through with a big game as Eric Monette and Josh Schafer took limited roles while being banged up.
For those of you who didn't catch the 52-21 pounding over fellow pass happy team Eastern Illinois, the Broncos exploded in the 2nd quarter for 4 TDs to pull away from EIU after a tight 1st. Alex Carder finished the 1st half with 299 yards on 26/30 passing and 5 TDs. In all, he finished with 364 yards after going just 3/7 in the 3rd.
His receiving corps really helped him out. Some great catches and spectacular runs after catches improved those stats. His main target was Jaime Wilson, who finished with 11 catches for 154 yards and 2 TDs. Those stats were all the highest for a Bronco freshman since November 1997. Blake Hammond also helped out with 6 receptions for 94 yards and 2 TDs.
The defense looked OK as well. They got to EIU QB Jimmy Garoppolo 4 times and picked him off twice, both by Lewis Toler who had his first and second INTs since his freshman season. Erik Lora was held to just 5 catches (albeit for 115 yards) and no TDs. In fact, Garoppolo's lone TD throw had to be caught one-handed, falling away as a SportsCenter Top Ten play by Chris Wright.
One concern is the sometimes poor pass defense. It was fixed by going to more CBs in the secondary, but it might be a question mark in other passing games. Another is run defense. Jake Walker had 11 carries for 69 yards, most being big runs. EIU was forced to pass more though, so it didn't hurt too bad, but it brought up the question marks from the pre-season.
In all, WMU ran, they threw, the played decent defense, and got the win at home. Next up is Minnesota, a winnable BCS game on the road. We'll have that preview later in the week, but for now, let's enjoy the good old WMU offense of old.