The home opener for Western Michigan football is always a fun time to be had. Along with a pre-game tailgate at the historic Haymes Field next door, WMU also includes a half-time fireworks show and a mostly packed house with the community in full support of the program. On Saturday night, everything went as planned, until halftime when a storm delayed the game for over an hour.
The Broncos started out fast, holding their FCS opponent to back-to-back three-and-outs. Meanwhile, the offense was clicking with Corey Davis catching a 52-yard touchdown pass on their first offense play, and Jamauri Bogan scoring on a 5-yard touchdown run on the next drive. The Eagles would eventually score, but WMU struck back with vengeance, scoring on a Carrington Thompson 26-yard catch and a Darius Phillips 66-yard punt return to make it 28-7 before the first quarter was even done.
Another Corey Davis touchdown, this time from 46-yards out and through 4 defenders, made it 35-7. A long touchdown pass on broken coverage provided the Eagles with more scoring, but LeVante Bellamy’s 3-yard touchdown run made it 42-14 just before the half. Malcolm Bell would find David Miller for a 1-yard score to prevent NC Central from getting tripled up at the half, and the 42-21 score held up as the lightning hit just after the fireworks show.
After the hour-and-seven-minute long delay, the offense picked up where they left off, scoring on their first two offensive drives. They first scored on a Zach Terrell 11-yard read option run. After forcing a three-and-out, another solid return by Phillips gave the offense great field position en route to another Davis touchdown. Terrell hit his favorite target for a 10-yard fade score to make it 56-21. The catch moved Davis over the 4,000 yard mark in his career, and put him exactly 1,000 yards behind Trevor Insley for most all-time in the FBS.
The rest of the game was fairly ugly, with the next drive seeing the ejections of WMU linebacker Robert Spillane (2nd unsportsmanlike conduct penalty) and NCCU wide-out Jalen Wilkes (targeting). Spillane’s status for next week’s game was not known at publishing, but it was assumed that he would miss the first half of the game at Illinois. The next drive would see WMU score on a Jarvion Franklin run, and Fleck would rest his starters the rest of the way en route to a 70-21 win.
Terrell finished 15-for-22 with 255 yards and 4 touchdown passes, while adding . Bogan had his 3rd straight 100-yard game with 17 carries for 131 yards and a score. Franklin finished with 91 yards on 17 carries and a score, and Bellamy added 121 yards on 16 rushes. Davis finished with 150 yards on 7 catches and his three scores. Davon Tucker scored his first career touchdown late, totaling 5 carries for 7 yards. Thompson’s touchdown catch completes the list of the 8 different Broncos to reach the end zone on the night.
Western Michigan is in action next weekend as they head to Illinois to take on the Illini. Kick-off is scheduled for 4 PM EDT.