Western Michigan supporters that have been skeptical of first year Coach PJ Fleck's approach, were handed a lot of fuel to throw on the fire after the Broncos poor performance in front of 66,000 plus at Kinnick Stadium.in Iowa City, Saturday.
The Broncos allowed two punt returns and two interceptions that were returned for touchdowns en route to a 59-3 beat down against a team it had beaten in it's last two meetings (2001, 2007).
"Whatever could go wrong, went wrong," said Fleck shortly after the game ended. "We were out athleted and outworked today plain and simple."
The Broncos (0-4, 0-0 MAC), who stopped for a walk-thru at Fleck's high school in Kaneville, Ill on it's way to Iowa, are sure to drive/row straight back to Kalamazoo with lot's of work to do before the Golden Flashes come to Waldo Stadium next Saturday.
"We're 0-4 and the naysayers well be chirping this week," said Fleck. " But our kids will focus on the MAC from here on out and in the MAC we are 0-0."
Iowa (3-1, 0-0 Big Ten) amassed 258 yards rushing as they pounded the front seven of the Bronco defense. They added an additional 188 yards through the air for 446 total offensive yards while controlling the ball for a little over 36 minutes.
But the offensive production was hardly needed. The two punt returns for touchdown that occurred a minute a part early in the second quarter, were Kavonte Martin -Manly's third and fourth of the year. The two pick sixes were both recorded by Hawk's linebacker BJ Lowrie. The interceptions were Bronco quarterback Tyler VanTubergen's sixth and seventh of the young season.
The Broncos offense was lethargic, picking up 135 yards passing and 74 rushing for a total of 209 yards.The most telling statistic was probably (1-14) as in the number of third down opportunities converted to first downs.
The Broncos could go along way in getting healthy by beating Kent State in it's MAC opener. But based on what we have seen on the field in the first four weeks, it wont be easy. Fleck should be given credit for attempting to create greater expectations for the Bronco program. The problem with expectations is that they are easier to have than fulfill. The season is still young.