Another game, another solid performance by the Western Michigan Broncos.
On the road against their 2nd Big Ten team of the season, the Broncos came out strong, using defense to stop the Illini early and often. However, they weren’t able to get on the board until a Corey Davis 44-yard catch set-up a Jamauri Bogan 1-yard touchdown run late in the 1st quarter.
After another Illinois punt, the Broncos struck again on a Bogan 36-yard run. They would get the ball back almost immediately on a fumble by Illini QB Wes Lunt, before scoring to open the 2nd quarter on a Zach Terrell keeper from three yards out.
The Illini would get on the board in the 2nd, blocking a Butch Hampton field goal and scoring on a double end-around pass from Lunt to a wide open Ainslie Johnson. However, the Broncos would respond, going down the field and using up most of the six minutes left on the clock. Hampton’s 33-yarder made it 24-7, where the score would stand until halftime.
Lovie Smith’s team would come out strong in the 2nd half, driving down the field to open the 3rd quarter. But a dropped pass at the goal-line prevented a needed touchdown, as the Illini were forced to settle for a field goal. A three-and-out provided hope by the Illinois defense, but the offense would stall, and they would never get any closer.
The Broncos responded with another short field goal, before Jarvion Franklin put the game away for good midway through the 4th on a short touchdown run. In all, Western Michigan really did their work in the trenches, holding a 281-3 advantage in rushing yards over their Big Ten foe.
Bogan was the star of the game, going for 189 yards on just 24 carries and two scores. Franklin had a respectable 72 yards on 15 carries and a score, and Terrell added 21 yards on the ground (including sacks). The senior quarterback also went 9-for-13, throwing for 150 yards, but held without a touchdown. His favorite target was Davis, who finished with 4 catches for 97 yards.
The Broncos return home next weekend to face Georgia Southern in their final non-conference tune-up before heading to Mt. Pleasant to take on rival Central Michigan to open MAC play.