Defense Makes Big Plays in 26-22 Win Over WMU

MOUNT PLEASANT - Senior Kito Poblah hauled in a five-yard touchdown pass to give Central Michigan the lead and Armond Staten forced a fumble inside the 10-yard line with Western Michigan threatening for the go-ahead score in the final minutes to preserve a 26-22 victory Friday night at Kelly/Shorts Stadium in the most recent chapter of the storied rivalry.

The Chippewas (3-7, 2-5 Mid-American Conference) scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Armond Staten's third forced fumble of the day cost the Broncos (3-6, 2-3 MAC) a chance for the go-ahead score.

Sophomore Cody Wilson set career highs in receptions (12) and yards (185) as sophomore quarterback Ryan Radcliff's favorite target. Radcliff finished 23-for-36 for 300 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Carl Volney finished with 18 carries for 91 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown.

The game-changing plays though came from CMU's defense, led by Staten. Matt Berning (12 tackles, one forced fumble) tied a career high in stops and Vince Agnew set a career high with 12 tackles and a forced fumble.

Central Michigan took a 7-0 lead on a 17-yard touchdown catch by Wilson on the opening drive and Western Michigan forced a safety to make it 7-2 later in the quarter on a sack in the end zone. A 35-yard field goal by David Harman made it 10-2 after one quarter.

The Broncos then went on a 12-play, 72 yard drive capped by a three-yard touchdown reception by Jordan White just 26 seconds into the second quarter. WMU attempted a two-point conversion but quarterback Alex Carder's pass was errant thanks to pressure by Nick Bellore (11 tackles) and CMU took a 10-8 lead into the break.

Carder found White on a crossing route on the opening drive of the second half and White raced down the left sideline for a 55-yard touchdown strike to give WMU the lead for the first time in the contest, 15-10.

After a Harman 22-yard field goal at the 7:32 mark of the third quarter made it 15-13, the Broncos converted a short field after returning a punt to the Chippewas' 44-yard line. Carder hit Juan Nunez for his third touchdown pass of the day with 1:55 to go in the quarter to extend the WMU lead to nine, 22-13.

CMU answered on the next drive, traveling 75 yards in nine plays, capped by Volney's one-yard touchdown run to pull back within two, 22-20, with 12:54 remaining. The two-point conversion play failed, and WMU responded by driving into field goal range but the 46-yard attempt with 9:19 remaining was wide right to open the door for the Chippewas.

The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for CMU, which travels to face Navy on Nov. 13.

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