KALAMAZOO -- Out of the frying pan into the fire is the way many view the Western Michigan University football teams task this Saturday afternoon as they invade Iowa City to take on the Hawkeyes. This will be the the Broncos third road game in four weeks in places called Evanston (IL) and East Lansing (MI). The big problem here is that these locations are home to big ten schools and the Broncos at best are a rebuilding MAC team.
Yet Bronco coach P.J. Fleck won't hesitate to tell you how excited he is about the challenge facing his squad. "It's just another opportunity to show how far we have come and how this group of kids is buying in and not backing down," said Fleck at Tuesday's press luncheon. "I am more excited than ever to be the head coach at Western and I guarantee you there will be a hungry bunch of Broncos flying around at practice today."
So what's the plan for defeating the Hawkeyes coach? "Score more points than they do," said Fleck with a smile. "They are Iowa there is no big secret to what they do. They are going to try to run the ball down our throats with a little passing mixed in. That has been Iowa's M.O. since when Hayden Fry was coaching here."
The Broncos will try to keep the Hawkeyes offense on the sidelines as much as possible Saturday with it's own version of ball control. Seniors Brian Fields and Dareyon Chance are among the top ten in MAC rushing and fifth year senior quarterback Tyler VanTubbergen seems to have settled a bit as he gets comfortable with young receivers Corey Davis and Timmy Kieth.
Despite the Broncos 0-3 start and the Hawkeyes 2-1 record, after beating in state rival Iowa State last week, the Broncos could win this thing...It wasn't that long ago that WMU beat the Hawkeyes at Kinnick Stadium (2007, 28-19).
Iowa lost to a mediocre Central Michigan last season and suffered it's only loss this year to Northern Illinois, both teams in the west division of the MAC with the Broncos. WMU is a 17 point dog going into Saturdays game, but they beat the spread by double digits in both of it's previous road losses this season. I see that happening again to the tune of about 30-24 Hawkeyes.
But look on the bright side as I am sure Coach Fleck will do, the Broncos still have a shot (long shot) at being undefeated in conference.