clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ohio Bobcats vs Western Michigan Broncos Recap: Broncos Explode In 42-21 Win Despite Three Turnovers

Zach Terrell threw a pair of interceptions, but the Western Michigan defense shut down the Ohio Bobcats in a 42-21 victory on Saturday.

GS Photo/WMU Media File

"I don't think we played particularly well on offense"

That was PJ Fleck after his Western Michigan Broncos (5-3, 3-1) defeated the Ohio Bobcats (4-5, 2-3) 42-21 on Saturday.  His offense scored five touchdowns and finished with 530 yards.  His defense even scored one and only allowed one decent scoring drive all afternoon.  So why would he say such things?

"When you look at what we did, (we had) three turnovers as we're moving the ball with ease.  That's frustrating.  Our young guys have to learn how important taking care of the football is," Fleck said.  "Our defensive performance was outstanding.  We had play-makers on special teams.  We have to keep learning to be the best.  But today, our 'how' won us the game."

And Fleck was right.  His sophomore quarterback, despite going 22-for-28 for 344 yards and a pair of touchdowns, threw a pair of interceptions.  The first occurred on a tipped ball at the line that Brett Layton took 43 yards all the way down to the WMU 3.  A Daz'mond Patterson rush would give the Bobcats the first score of the game, appearing to turn the tide of the game early.

But Zach Terrell would settle in, leading a balanced offense to back-to-back drives down the field.  Stellar freshman running-back Jarvion Franklin would end both drives with rushing touchdowns, extending his stranglehold over the NCAA lead in the statistic.

Terrell would then find Corey Davis on a deep ball on the next drive for a 72-yard touchdown.  That would mark the mid-point of what would become a monster day for the reigning MAC Freshman of the Year.  Prior to that, Davis had already made some noise snagging a tough catch for 23 yards while getting drilled by Thad Ingol.  The hit was deemed as targeting and Ingol was ejected.

On the ensuing drive after the Davis bomb, JD Sprague would get sacked and would have trouble getting up.  He would gingerly walk off the field, but would not return to the game.  Frank Solich would insert former starting quarterback Derrius Vick, hoping to ignite his offense with a dual-threat, but the immediate dividends would not go as planned.

After a booming 65-yard punt by J Schroeder, a pair of two-yard losses made it 3rd-and-14 from the Ohio 2.  Vick would scramble out of the pocket, but would be hit as he unloaded a pass.  The wobbly ball found it's way to a wide-open Trevor Ishmael, who ran it in from 12 yards out to make it 28-7.

But the Bobcats would recover.  Vick would rush his teammates down the field, hoping to get a score right before the half.  After stalling out with 5 seconds to go at the WMU 19, Solich elected to bring on Josiah Yazdani to cut the lead by 3.  However, the Broncos broke through the line and easily blocked the attempt to head into halftime.

Neither team would find paydirt in the 3rd quarter.  The Bobcats would miss another field goal wide left (despite a holding penalty on the play to give Yazdani more time), but would sandwich that miss between a pair of stalled out drives.  The Broncos, meanwhile, would drive down the field in each of their three drives.  However, a Darius Phillips fumble near mid-field on the first one and a poor interception by Terrell on the next would keep Western Michigan out of the end zone.

Ohio would strike first in the 4th quarter, making it a 28-14 game after Vick found Chase Cochran on a 66-yard deep ball.  It would be the only mistake the Bronco defense would seem to make all day, and it appeared Cochran may have pushed off his defender on the play.

But the defense would be bailed out by the offense shortly after, with Terrell finding Davis again over the middle for a 56-yard touchdown.  After both teams would stall out, the WMU punt would be mishandled by Patterson, and Franklin would punch it in four plays later to put the game completely out of reach at 42-14.  A garbage time touchdown would cut the deficit, but it was apparent the Broncos had won in every facet of the game.

Davis would finish with 212 yards, the first 200+ yard performance by a Bronco wide-out since Jordan White's "Swan Song" performance at the 2011 Little Caesars' Pizza Bowl.  Franklin would add another 156 on the ground with his trio of touchdowns raising his season mark to an astounding 19, also tying the program record set in 1916 and matched last in 1976.

"This feels good," Davis said after the game.  "It's a good team win.  The (offensive line) deserves a lot of credit.  I like to think it's pretty hard (to play our offense).  Our line is playing really well, Franklin opens up a lot of things outside, and we're firing on all cylinders."

And Fleck took great pride in Davis' performance after the game as well.

"I called it," said the eccentric head coach.  "I told Kirk Ciarrocca in our meeting yesterday, '(Davis) is going to have a monster game.  He's gonna have 200 yards receiving and five touchdowns.'  I was three touchdowns off."

"You can see (Davis) getting better and better," Fleck said.  "Now, (our opponents) are starting to take away Jarvion, (Daniel) Braverman, and Darius (Phillips).  And now, Davis is getting lost in the mix.  The best receiver in the MAC gets lost in the mix," he said with a chuckle.

Frank Solich was unavailable for comments after the game.

The Broncos now head to Miami to take the RedHawks as one of just two conference games next week.  Ohio will have the weekend off before helping kick-off the midweek #MACtion against Buffalo.