In the madness that is MAC Day, where every MAC school is playing their best unless their name is Toledo, the Western Michigan Broncos swept the UConn Huskies in a two-game set continuing from last year, and now own a 2-1 lead in the overall series. More importantly, the Broncos are 2-2 heading into MAC play, and look like they might be finding everything out. Or not. We'll get to that in a minute.
So while a loss today could've been bad and started some "Cubit Hot Seat" rumblings, the Broncos won. Hell, they even scored their 10,000th point in program history today! Woo! And while UConn fans are LIVID about this game (general link, just read. Keep in mind, some fans didn't think we had a shot to score double digits, let alone win), Bronco fans can celebrate another great week of hard work paying off.
Honestly, the two losses were game-planned decently. Defensively, they were executing well, and the offense struggled. Today, the defense was shaky, but the offense fired on all cylinders to win this one. The Top-5 defense that UConn toted into this game was taken for 330 yards, including 253 passing yards. Carder looked like Carder (more good than bad though) and the Broncos got a duo-threat receiving corps working for the first time all season.
Let's break things down below the jump......
Offensively, the Broncos looked good. This is a good UConn defense, and the game-plan was to balance the attack and get off passes quickly.
Carder wasn't always accurate, and he sometimes didn't make the smart run out of the pocket when it was there and no one was open, but he hit Jaime Wilson, Josh Schaffer, and the rest of the gang quickly and usually efficiently en route to a 18/34 game for 237 yds and a TD to Schaffer, who had his best game of the year (6 catch, 104 yds).
What about special teams? Nick Williams has been torching teams on returns and WMU had a young core of specialists.
Williams had some big returns, and the punts were here and there, but in all, the kick-offs and punts were handled well. WMU returns didn't do much either. As for the kicking game, Andrew Haldeman made his career long 44-yarder in the 1st, into a strong wind, but he also broke the WMU program record of 142 straight PATs made after banging the last TD's point after off the upright.
And defense? The UConn offense could easily be described as "sub-par" to be nice heading into this game. Heck, they only had 2 offensive TDs against UMass. Stop the run and the shaky pass game shouldn't be too much of a threat correct?
Time for a meeting.
While the Broncos did have a great game stopping the run and getting good production from their D-Line and LBs, the secondary was awful. I'm sorry, but when the front guys put in work and try and fix themselves (McCombs did have a 119 yd game for 5.1 yds/carry, but I'll take it because they were hard yards at times), the secondary has to stop a QB that was described by UConn fans as "still fresh".
The stats? 6 sacks, 92 rushing yards (sacks are included), 2 turnovers forced (INT in the redzone, and...........), eventual game-winning TD. That's right, Desmond Bozeman's 51 yard sack-fumble-TD gave the Broncos a 30-17 lead with 7 minutes left and the program 10,000 points in it's history.
But the passing defense? Chandler Whitmer threw for 333 yards on 28/44 passing and 3 TDs. THOSE ARE HIS ONLY TDS ON THE SEASON! Geremy Davis had 9 catches for 123 yards and a TD, Ryan Griffin had some redemption from his late game fumble last year with 3 catches for 40 yards and a TD (he had 3 for 33 and 0 coming into the game), and the balanced pass attack falls in behind them.
This is scary because WMU is supposed to have a stronger pass defense and it just wasn't today. UConn shouldn't have been able to pass all over WMU, and they did. Maybe it wasn't in the gameplan. Who knows. It'll be a huge question mark next week when WMU hosts MAC West Pre-season favorite Toledo.
But until then, let me enjoy this sweep. Huskie tears taste sweet. As do Hawkeye (I can't believe I'm saying that as a Bronco fan), Bull, and JayHawk tears. #MACattack!