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Western Squeaks by Miami, Becomes Bowl Eligible

Well, it took some blood pressure medication and heavy use of booze to get through that game, but Western Michigan came out of Oxford with a huge W.  With the win, the Broncos become bowl eligible for the 3rd time in 4 years, and the 5th time in Bill Cubit's 7-year tenure.  Whether or not the Broncos make a bowl is a different story, but if they take care of Akron next week, they would have a case to get in. 

Bill Cubit's 18th win over the MAC East did not come easily.  The defense looked bad in the first half, the offense struggled at times in the 2nd half, and it just had the feel of the EMU-WMU game the entire way.  It took a missed field goal and some key turnovers to win.

By the way, can we just stop for a moment and acknowledge Cubit's sheer dominance over the East these past 7 years.  He has a very sporting chance at going 19-3 by year's end, and that is scary good.  The only losses he has is to Ohio in 2006, Kent State in 2009, and something about Akron in 2007...................

Zips Miracle at Western Michigan (via ejg571320)

Oh yeah, that.....................................

More Miami-Western Michigan review after the break

The first quarter was weird.  Miami drove down the field (no surprise), but did it in 7:50.  They killed the clock and broke Western down the entire drive.  However, it led to a HORRIBLY shanked field goal from 22 yards out.  Western got the ball back, and punted after stalling.  The punt was a little squibber by Robert Arnheim, proving again that he can do anything.

Miami looked to be driving again, when Nick Harwell caught a short pass, broke two tacklers, then got absolutely rocked.  The hit forced a fumble, and Western "pounced" on it.  The resulting drive?  A 3-and-out.  Your score after 1?  0-0.

Over the next 11 minutes, Western and Miami would trade TDs on back-to-back-to-back drives.  The first was a Dysert to a wide open Harwell just chillin' about a yard or two deep in the endzone.  The WMU TD was a beautiful thread the needle throw to Jordan White.  The last TD was a pass to Harwell who caught it through what would've been pass interference if he didn't catch it.  Nice juggling catch, and the score is 14-7. 

On the next drive, WMU looked like they were going to match Miami with another touchdown.  Instead, Alex Carder threw 2 incompletions to White, then on 4th and 1, Brian Fields was cracked for a 4 yard loss.  Miami would punt on their next drive, and Western got far enough down to kick a field goal to end the half.  14-10 Miami.

The defense looked bad, the offense looked off, and Miami had all the momentum.  I wish I knew what happened in that locker room, because the D-Line came out and dominated most of the 2nd half.

Western came out to start the 2nd half and drove down the field.  They scored on a Carder-to-White "beast mode" play where White just fought his way into the endzone.  Miami stalled on their next drive, and then Carder and Dysert threw picks 3 plays apart to keep Western with the ball.

This is when the D-Line took over.  Western punted, and after a personal foul, Deauntay Legrier sacked Dysert at the 3 to make it 2nd and 29.  Miami punted, and by the end of the 3rd quarter, WMU was at the RedHawk 2, threatening to make it a 10 point game.  2 plays later, it was.

Miami would get sacked 5 times over their next 2 drives.  The first ended in a turnover on downs after back-to-back sacks left Miami with a 3rd and 24.  The second drive started just 59 seconds later after Western tried to throw the ball and failed twice.  The RedHawks had some success until back-to-back sacks ended Miami's chances of a field goal shot, and Miami had to punt.

Miami got  the ball back and scored a touchdown with 3 minutes left on another pass to Nick Harwell.  Western got the ball back, and slowly killed the clock to the finish.

In all, Western's defense held Miami to under 200 yards and only 7 points in the 2nd half.  In the battle of the top WRs of the MAC, Nick Harwell beat Jordan White statistically (14/138/3 vs 9/106/2).  However, the overall WR group battle was won by Western, as Miami used Harwell and Chris Givens (13/141/0), while Western relied on White, Chleb Ravenell (8/110/0), Josh Schaffer (7/94/0) and Arnheim (8/86/1).

How about the run games?  Uhh........lets skip them.  Miami's leading rusher had 40 yards on two carries, one of which went for 39 yards.  In all, 22 carries for 53 yards, but that includes sacks I believe.  Western didn't do better.  23 carries for 42 yards, but they were able to kill the clock late and I guess that's all that matters now.

So in the end, Alex Carder and Co were able to pull out a win, and head back home to face Senior Day and the possibility of making a bowl game for the first time since 2008.  Till then, we play the waiting game