The Michigan MAC Trophy is back in Kalamazoo for a third straight year as the #20 Western Michigan Broncos (8-0, 4-0) dominated the Eastern Michigan Eagles (5-3, 2-2) in the 2nd half en route to a 45-31 win.
The Broncos went three-and-out on their first drive, and the Eagles looked like they were primed to score to answer, but Breck Turner fumbled on a long run to give Western Michigan the ball. From there, Zach Terrell went to work, slicing up the Eagle secondary before eventually finding Carrington Thompson in the middle of the field. A few slick moves, and the senior wide-out found the end zone for a 32-yard score.
However, the Eagles would not be deterred. After a punt, they would get a strip sack on Terrell to set up a 10-yard Brogan Roback scamper - just his third career rushing touchdown - to tie the game. The Broncos would respond on a two-yard Jarvion Franklin touchdown four minutes later, but a 36-yard field would be answered with Terrell’s first interception of the year. The ensuing drive would produce a 29-yard fade from Roback to Antoine Porter - a perfect pass on 4th-and-1 - to make it a 17-14 EMU lead.
With the Broncos trailing for the first time all season at home, they responded beautifully, scoring just over two minutes later on Jamauri Bogan’s first touchdown in MAC play. The sophomore runningback had been mostly sidelined with an ankle injury suffered early against Central Michigan. Following a Sam Beal interception of Roback, Terrell guided the offense down the field for a late field goal to make it 24-17 at the half.
Coming out of the break, the Western Michigan defense looked much improved, holding the Eagles to a punt to open play. They would drive down the field after Darius Phillips had a punt return touchdown called back, eventually scoring on a 7-yard catch by Thompson.
The Eagles would try to respond, scoring a quick touchdown on a Turner run just 71 seconds later, but a 4-minute answer by the Bronco offense resulted in Corey Davis’ 44th career touchdown catch. The yardage also moved him into 4th all-time in FBS history.
Another Eagle punt would put the Broncos back to work, where they would burn nearly 7 minutes of clock en route to Bogan’s second touchdown of the night. A Willie Parker touchdown four-and-a-half minutes later would be little consolation for the Eagles, as the Broncos ran out the remaining three minutes to secure the victory.
Terrell finished with a career-high 398 yards on 29-for-35 passing and three scores. He did throw his first interception of the year, and lost a fumble, neither of which will make P.J. Fleck happy. Franklin finished with 114 yards on the ground and a score, while Bogan had 10 carries for 29 yards, but had two scores. Thompson had a career-high 177 yards on 8 catches and 2 scores. Davis added 87 yards and a score on 5 catches.
For the Eagles, Roback had 319 yards on 29-for-45 passing and a score. He also had an interception, though the timing of it (late in the 2nd quarter) lessened its impact. Turner had 86 yards on the ground on 17 carries and a score, and added 31 yards receiving. Roback’s favorite targets were Sergio Bailey (9 targets, 6 catches, 93 yards) and Antoine Porter (8 targets, 5 catches, 80 yards, one score).
The Broncos now have an extended week before heading on the road to face Ball State in a Tuesday night game (presumably on ESPN2). The Eagles return home to play Miami next Saturday.