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Western Michigan Broncos vs. Idaho Vandals: Five Things Learned

Western Michigan earns a comeback victory at a critical point for the season.

NCAA Football: Western Michigan at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

When the Western Michigan Broncos returned to the field after halftime, it seemed like a very different team took their place. The second-half Broncos were the Broncos we saw in week one putting a ranked team on upset alert. Combined, the second-half team and the first-half team put the Idaho Vandals away with a score of 37-28.

Broken tackles continue to hurt the Broncos.

There is nothing more disheartening than seeing the Broncos corral the opponent, only to let them go due to a missed tackle. Idaho made the Broncos pay with long runs from Aaron Duckworth and Isaiah Saunders.

I saw excellent technique and positioning from the Bronco defense, a huge improvement over last week. Sure, there were a few miscommunications in assignment, but there is no excuse for a Vandal running through three Bronco tackles in one play. Darius Phillips, who I was praising the first two weeks, was guilty of at least two missed tackles.

Jon Wassink is a growing into his role at quarterback.

Wassink was positively confident in the pocket Saturday, especially in the second half. He fired mostly all catchable balls with pinpoint accuracy, even despite the fact the offensive line gave him just enough time to either fire off a pass or take off on a scramble.

Even on Wassink’s scrambles, he seemed to know exactly where to go for the first down. Wassink looks solid in every aspect of the quarterback position. More and more, Western Michigan is rallying around Jon Wassink as their leader. I would not be surprised to see much more passing in the coming weeks.

The offensive line needs to have more consistent blocking.

Normally Chukwuma Okorafor, Luke Juriga, and John Keenoy are able to push around defenders at will. For some reason, it just is not happening anymore. Failing to block at a second level has already hurt the Broncos dearly. The three speed demons in the backfield need those important blocks to get more than three yards at a time. Fortunately, the robust Bronco offensive line does manage to get those blocks sometimes. The main issue here is getting those blocks every time, not just when the Broncos have momentum.

Waldo Stadium can bring the noise.

Waldo Stadium was rocking last night. Despite having two losses to their name, the Broncos brought in a crowd of over 25,000. That crowd made all sorts of noise, giving the Broncos the leg up they desperately needed. Clearly Tim Lester has done his part getting people to attend games. Filling a stadium 85% full gave Western Michigan much more momentum than empty stadiums of just a few years ago.

Next week will be a week of healing.

Tim Lester and Athletic Director Kathy Beauregard scheduled the Broncos very well this year. Now that the Broncos got the toughest three non-conference games out of the way, the Broncos get a relatively easy week against the Wagner Seahawks. Western Michigan will probably be benching a lot of starters to protect the recent injuries. I do not want to underestimate Wagner, but the Broncos should try to keep themselves safe this week.