Hey-o! Your Western Michigan Broncos are above .500 for the first time since 2011 and I have to say, it is FUN to win football games. WMU faithful were shown last weekend that head coach P.J. Fleck is indeed righting the ship (see what I did there *wink*) as the Broncos took down Murray State in pretty convincing fashion. That was Murray State though, and this week Western is going to have a bit of a doozy heading to Blacksburg to take on the Virginia Tech Hokies (12:30 EDT kickoff).
Virginia Tech is on somewhat of a slide right now. After beating Ohio State in primetime AND in Columbus back in week two, Tech has lost to East Carolina (28-21) and Georgia Tech (27-24), both at home. Now we Bronco fans can look at this one of two ways. First, their losing ways will continue and they'll blunder across the field, ripe for upset. Second, they'll be so freaking angry with themselves that they'll rip us to pieces and send us crawling back across the Appalachians crying for mercy. The truth is probably somewhere in between, but it's important to know that this Hokie team does have talent. (Side note, don't EVER pronounce Appalachian wrong when talking to someone from the region. They will reprimand you and you will feel foolish.)
What I'm afraid for.
The Hokies are pretty talented runners. That isn't reflected in rushing yards per game right now (141.3 yards/game, 92nd in the nation), but their two running backs Shai McKenzie and Marshawn Williams are nothing to sneeze at. And despite success so far this season, the Broncos defense has yet to be tested by athletes of this caliber - the Broncos could have problems with VaTech's backs and offensive line. Making matters worse, WMU starting linebacker Austin Lewis is out for the season with a knee injury. Western is going to have to get pretty creative to crack this offensive unit.
What I'm excited about.
I think the Bronco offense will see continued success. The offensive line is coming together nicely, and Jarvion Franklin has shown his prowess with 542 yards and 9 touchdowns through the Broncos first three games. Zach Terrell made a few mental mistakes last week, but I think he'll also be able to spread the ball around pretty nicely. Just like on the other side of the ball though, this will be the most talented team the Broncos have seen. Don't expect to Western to be able to move around like we did against Idaho or Murray State.
What the Broncos have to do.
While my esteemed SB Nation colleague Joe Tuohey and I were talking about the Eastern-MSU game last weekend he brought up a good point: EMU was not able to hold onto the ball and make any type of drive happen. While the talent differential between EMU and MSU is way bigger than WMU-VaTech, this same principle holds for all underdogs in a game like this - Western has to limit the touches the Hokies get. That means holding true to the run game which, luckily, is our strength right now. And I'm going to say Jarvion Franklin scores three more times against Tech. And maybe with a few turnovers by the Hokies, you never know... That being said though:
Western Michigan 28 - Virginia Tech 45
Check out this video I just discovered of the Broncos playing in the pool! It's adorable! I love our guys.