For the first time in almost three years, the Western Michigan Broncos are over .500.
For the first time in almost two years, the Western Michigan Broncos have tasted the sweet taste of victory in front of a home crowd.
For the first time in what seems like forever, the Western Michigan Broncos have a competent run game.
On Saturday, in front of a crowd of over 22,000 fans, P.J. Fleck's Broncos downed the Murray State Racers 45-14 to make all of those statements true. Freshman sensation Jarvion Franklin had another stellar game to the tune of 164 yards and another set of three touchdowns, carrying the Broncos to their first two-game win streak since beating Miami on the road then thumping Akron at home (in the famous TVT game [6 TDs, ~5 incompletions]) way back in that 2011 season.
The Broncos came out strong, with Zach Terrell hitting Corey Davis to open the scoring. However, the Racers would march right down the field and score the tying touchdown on a Marcus Holliday dive just two minutes later.
However, that would be the last score the Murray State offense would make all night.
Despite not turning the ball over, and despite getting down into the Bronco red zone, the Racers were stymied by the Bronco defense over and over again, with middle line-backer Grant DePalma leading the way. DePalma finished with 9 tackles, with 2.5 of them being for a loss.
Meanwhile, the Western Michigan offense found their groove in the 2nd quarter and never let up. Franklin scored touchdowns on back-to-back drives on runs of 7 and 22 yards, and helped lead a drive down the field late in the half to set up a 24-yard field goal by Andrew Haldeman to make it 24-7 at the half.
Even when Terrell made a costly interception early in the 3rd quarter - one that T-Ray Malone took 71 yards all the way for a touchdown - the Broncos just kept plugging, with Daniel Braverman taking a double end-around 65 yards on an incredible run to retake the 17 point lead.
Franklin and Terrell would both get touchdown runs in the 3rd and 4th quarters respectively to help put the game even further out of reach, with Fleck starting to opt to get younger guys experience while he could. In all, Western Michigan finished with over 600 yards of offense for the first time since their 2012 home opener, and finished a few yards shy of 400 yards rushing.
The final totals were an indication of how well the Broncos played. Terrell again finished with a solid game throwing, going 20-for-29 for 228 yards and the opening touchdown, while committing the only turnover in that pick six. He also ran for 48 yards and a score. Corey Davis led all WMU receivers with 99 yards and the lone receiving touchdown, but also saw Braverman (7 catches for 61 yards & the big run), Franklin (3 catches for 30 yards) and his supporting cast of wide-outs contribute in the game.
As for Franklin, he caught a much needed break with Dareyon Chance finishing with 90 yards himself to go with the solid runs by Braverman and Terrell. Franklin also now has 9 rushing touchdowns on the season, just one shy of the entire WMU team total from last season.
The Broncos return to action next Saturday against Frank Beamer and his Virginia Tech Hokies. Kickoff is scheduled for 12:30 pm.