clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

2022 MAC Football Week 12 Game Recap: Western Michigan Broncos 12, Central Michigan Chippewas 10

In a true throwback game, the Broncos brutalize the Chippewas in a cold, bitter contest to emerge with the Victory Cannon.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 09 NIU at Western Michigan Photo by Joseph Weiser/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With 1:55 remaining in a tense contest between the hosting Central Michigan Chippewas (4-7, 3-4 MAC West) and the visiting Western Michigan Broncos (4-7, 3-4 MAC West), WMU had set up a fourth-and-goal field goal attempt from about 25 yards out with a Sean Tyler short run to the right.

It was not a certainty the kick would sail through; Palmer Domschke had gone 0-of-2 on field goal attempts in the prior 58:55 of game clock, with the last kick at this end getting blocked by CMU defensive back Donte Kent.

But Tim Lester opted to trust his kicker once again, down 10-9. The choice by the man coaching his alma mater in a rivalry game paid dividends, as Domschke’s boot cleared the uprights and hit the net dead center to put the Broncos up by a margin of 12-10— a score which would hold up when the clock struck triple zeroes.

It was quite a story to get to that point.

Conditions in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan, could be charitably described as “picturesque”, with Kelly/Shorts Stadium looking like a snowglobe as the field was covered in several inches of snow for the entirety of the first half.

This resulted in a very old-school game, dictated by the team who exhibited more physicality at the point of attack.

After the defense came up forced a Central Michigan punt on the first possession of the series, Western Michigan would strike first, as Sean Tyler broke through a gap and shed several tackles en route to a 53-yard touchdown run to put the Broncos up 7-0 early.

De’Javion Stephney’s 20-yard kick return on the ensuing kickoff would set up Bert Emanuel Jr., the star of CMU’s game against Buffalo last Tuesday, for a 60-yard touchdown to even the score at 7-7, effectively neutralizing the game once again.

WMU then plotted out a long, grindy drive over the next 7:14 of the first quarter, gaining 56 yards on 12 plays before Stephey would come in clutch once again on a third-and-goal play by breaking up a pass intended for Corey Crooms.

The Broncos opted to try and grab the lead back with a field goal on fourth-and-goal from the CMU nine-yard line, but Palmer Domschke hooked the 22-yard kick wide left, keeping the score at 7-all with 1:06 remaining in the first quarter.

Both teams would exchange punts until the 7:13 mark of the second quarter, with WMU possessing the ball at their own eight-yard line. The Broncos would kill much of the clock on a 12-play, 89-yard drive. WMU once again opted to throw on third-and-goal from three yards out, with Treyson Bourguet once again passing in the direction of Corey Crooms— which was once again broken up, this time by Ronald Kent Jr.

In a serious case of deja vu, Palmer Domschke would also fail on this kick attempt from 22 yards out, with the kick blocked by CMU’s special teams unit, their sixth of the 2022 campaign.

CMU and WMU would manufacture inefficient drives over much of the third quarter, with both defenses producing fantastic plays. WMU blinked first, as Marshall Meeder kicked a 24-yard field goal through with 3:55 remaining in the frame to give CMU a 10-7 advantage on a drive aided by two facemask penalties for the Broncos, which wiped away a first-down sack and a third-down stop.

CMU, however, was the next to blink, as the defense forced a three-and-out on the next Bronco possession, only for Alec Ward to be the latest punt returner to muff the ball, granting WMU possession once again at the CMU 42-yard line.

Penalties once again reared their ugly head for WMU on the new drive, with a holding call wiping out a first down Treyson Bourguet run on fourth-and-five from the CMU 37-yard line.

In a similar vein, CMU would also commit a mental mistake to wipe away potential points, as an ineligible man downfield penalty wiped out a 22-yard Carlos Carriere reception on third-and-seven to get outside WMU’s redzone.

The game’s momentum took a giant turn with 3:57 remaining, as the Chippewas were facing third-and-nine from their own six-yard line. Bert Emanuel Jr. was back at QB, and took the snap. Emanuel Jr., intending to pass, scanned the field, but noticed the pressure incoming. Emanuel Jr. attempted to evade Andre Carter, but Carter caught him in front of the goal line for a sack, with the ball hitting the ground around the end zone.

The play, called a fumble recovery touchdown on the field, was instead called a safety on review, bringing the score to 10-9 in favor of the Chippewas.

CMU had to punt the ball back to WMU as a result of the safety, and the drive would result in the Domschke field goal make from 25 yards out.

The Chippewas would get one last attempt at making #MACtion magic happen with about 1:45 remaining, but a Jase Bauer throw under pressure found its way into the hands of WMU defensive back Keni-H Lovely, effectively ending the game.

Sean Tyler was the star of the show, rushing for 149 first-half yards and 177 yards overall for the Broncos in the victory, scoring once. Treyshon Bourguet did enough to get the job done in adverse conditions, finishing 7-of-19 for 102 yards through the air and 77 yards on the ground. Corey Crooms led the Broncos receiving group after a slow start, finishing with four catches for 64 yards. Malique Dieudonne once again emerged as a threat too, with two catches for 31 yards.

Andre Carter led the way for WMU defensively, with six tackles, three tackles-for-loss, two sacks and a safety. Delano Ware and Ryan Selig also joined Carter atop the tackle table, while Keni-H Lovely picked up the interception to seal the game.

CMU struggled immensely outside of a few burst plays on offense.

Bert Emanuel Jr. finished as the leading rusher, with 98 yards and a score on 21 carries. Emanuel Jr. also went 3-of-3 for 32 yards passing. Jase Bauer saw action in this contest after registering zero snaps last week vs. Buffalo, finishing 3-of-7 for 62 yards and an interception through the air and 21 rushing yards.

Lew Nichols, still clearly ailing from an ankle injury, had to shoulder the load once again as CMU had no other scholarship backs. He would finish with 35 yards on 10 carries. Tyson Davis (two catches, 39 yards) and Jalen McGaughy (Two catches, 29 yards) led CMU’s receiving efforts.

Thomas Incoom continued an impressive run of form, finishing with six tackles, 2.5 tackles-for-loss and a sack, while Donte Kent (five tackles, FG block) came up with three pass break-ups to stymie the WMU passing offense. As a unit, CMU came up with 10 tackles-for-loss and five pass break-ups, with two of those coming in the endzone.

The victory was the Broncos’ sixth-straight at Kelly/Shorts Stadium, extending a streak which dates back to 2012, and gives them the Victory Cannon a year after CMU took it from Western in Kalamazoo. WMU has won eight of their last 12 contests with the Chippewas dating back to 2010 as well.

CMU, meanwhile, falls out of bowl contention with their seventh loss on top of giving away their rivalry trophy. At this point, they can only retain the Michigan MAC trophy if they win against Eastern Michigan next week.

Both teams are set to play on Black Friday at noon Eastern time next week, with WMU set to play Toledo and CMU set to play EMU.

The games will occur on ESPNU or CBS Sports Network, with specific broadcast assignments to be released at a later date.