Preview: WVU - WMU

The Broncos ride into Morgantown looking to shock the nation, while the Mountaineers aim to start off a potentially special season on the right foot.






BlueGoldNews.com Game Scorecard
Series: WVU 1-0-0
Sat 9/1/07 3:30 pm
Morgantown, W. Va.

Milan Puskar Stadium
Record: 0-0
USA/Coaches: 6th
Last Game
GT W 38-35

Click for Morgantown, West Virginia Forecast
Record: 0-0
USA/Coaches: NR
Last Game
Cincinnati L 24-27
Rosters/ Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2007 Schedule
First Meeting: 1996
Last Meeting: 1996
Rosters/Bios
Press Release
Season Stats
2007 Schedule

Injuries:

WVU - Reed Williams (Elbow) Probable, Bobby Hathaway (Hand) Probable, Wes Lyons (Knee) Questionable

WMU - None reported

Game Outlook:

WVU offense vs. WMU defense

The Western Michigan defense lead the nation last season with 24 interceptions and 46 sacks and returns nice starters for the 2007 season.

BlueGoldNews.com
Game Info
WVU 0-0, 0-0
WMU 0-0, 0-0
Sat 9/1 3:30 pm
Milan Puskar Stadium
Series: WVU 1-0-0
TV: ESPN Regional
AP: WVU 3rd - WMU NR
Line: WVU -24
The hard nosed Bronco defense is anchored by an excellent defensive backfield sprinkled with All-MAC performers.

Louis Delmas (5'11, 196) leads the secondary into the 2007 campaign. Delmas recorded 53 tackles and four interceptions a season ago.

Joining Delmas will be E.J Biggers (6'0, 180), Londen Fryer (5-11, 192) and C.J. Wilson (6'2, 206).

The linebacking corps is lead by middle linebacker Dustin Duclo (5'10, 225). Duclo, entering his third year as start is a heady player with excellent tackling skills.

Joining Duclo will be Boston McCornell (6'1, 233) and Austin Pritchard (6'4, 233). McCornell and Pritchard will need to have solid seasons to plug the holes left by departing seniors Ameer Ismail and Paul Tithof.

The Western Michigan defensive front is anchored by All-MAC tackle Nick Varcadipane (6'2, 285). Varcadipane ended last season with 51 tackles, nine of them for loss.

Varcadipane is joined in the trenches by Cody Cielenski (6'2, 280), Greg Marshall (6'0, 245) and Zach Davidson (6'2, 257). Cielenski, a sophomore, has taken over the nose guard position from last season's starter, Cory Flom after a solid spring and summer camp. Marshall is a converted linebacker who adds speed and quickness to the defensive front while Davidson racked up eight sacks as a sophomore.

By The Numbers (Final 2006 rankings):
WVU was ranked fifth in total offense (461.38 yds/game), second in rushing offense (303.00 yds/game) and 100th in passing offense (158.38 yds/game)

WMU was ranked 11th in total defense (275.38 yds/game), 6th in rushing defense (76.08 yds/game) and 57th in passing defense (199.31 rating).

Advantage: WVU

WVU defense vs. WMU offense

Leading the Bronco offense into the 2007 campaign will be sophomore signal caller Tim Hiller (6-5, 228). Hiller spent the 2006 season recovering from knee injury after being named MAC Freshman of the year in 2005. As a freshman, Hiller completed 65% of his passes for 1,334 yards and 20 touchdowns against only three interceptions.

Joining Hiller in the backfield will be a trio of talented running backs. Mark Bonds (5'10, 219) returns as the teams leading ground gainer in 2006. The 1000 yards back crossed the goalline seven times. Bonds is a physical back that will only get stronger as the game goes on.

Brandon West (5'10, 169) and Glenis Thompson (5'8, 210) round out the trio. West is a speedy change of pace back that totalled 633 yards and three touchdowns as a freshman while Thompson has a pounding style of running much like Bonds. West was recently named the starter, but all three runners are expected to see action.

Western Michigan is also blessed with a talented duo of wide receivers that are as good as any pair of passcatchrs on WVU's schedule, with the only exception being Louisville. Jamarko Simmons (6'2, 234), a junior, hauled in 61 passes for 668 yards and two TDs last season. The converted running back will be a tough draw for any of the WVU defensive backs.

Manning the opposite wide-out position will be Herb Martin (6'2, 187), a junior college transfer that ended the season with 30 catches and 335 yards for the Broncos.

Other Bronco targets will be Schneider Julien (5'10, 175), a burner who is in his first season in Division 1A, along with starting tight end Brandon Ledbetter (6'5, 230). Ledbetter had 37 receptions for 423 yards last season.

The Bronco offensive line will be a very good test for the Mountaineer defensive front and can be described in a word -- huge. The offensive line averages six feet, four inches and 320 pounds. The line includes left tackle Rob Johnson (6'4, 338), left guard Matt Williams (6'3, 304), Robbie Krutilla (6'3, 314) at center, right guard Nick Clemens (6'4, 307) and right tackle James Blair (6'4, 334).

By The Numbers (Final 2006 rankings):
WVU was ranked 62nd in total defense (336.62 yds/game), 13th in rushing defense (93.31 yds/game) and 109th in passing defense (243.31 yds/game).

WMU was ranked 78th in total offense (319.54 yds/game), 56th in rushing offense (134.69 yds/game) and 77th in passing offense (184.85 yds/game).

Advantage: WVU

WVU special teams vs. WMU special teams

Handling the placekicking duties for the Broncos will be Mike Jones (6'0, 184). Jones, a senior, saw limited action last season, connecting on one field goal. Jones will also be handling the kickoff duties on Saturday.

Starting at punter will be Jim Laney (6'4, 212).

BlueGoldNews.com
Game Links
GameDay Weather
Road Conditions
WMU Message Board
WMU Official Site
Stadium Seating
Tailgating
Laney averaged 38.2 yards on 62 punts last season with his long being 59 yards.

The Broncos were one of the better return teams in the country in 2006 and this season should be no different. Returning kicks will be the speedy Brandon West. West averaged 28 yards per kickoff return a year ago.

Returning punts will be Schneider Julien, a first year Bronco, but a very explosive player.

By The Numbers (Final 2006 rankings):
WVU is ranked 29th in net punting (36.83 yds/punt), 12th in kick returns (23.84 yds/return) and 53rd in punt returns (9.00 yds/return).

WMU is ranked 111th in net punting (30.62 yds/punt), 27th in kick returns (22.33 yds/return) and 10th in punt returns (13.56 yds/return)

Advantage: WVU

Picks to Click:

On Offense: Steve Slaton

On Defense: Ryan Mundy

Prediction:

The Mountaineers are used to opening the season against a Mid American Conference foe with the game usually ending in a blowout, but Western Michigan is not just another MAC team. The Broncos will bring a stout defense and a spread offensive attack to Milan Puskar Stadium on Saturday afteroon, expecting to pull off the upset of a top ten team.

The Broncos are probably the fifth or sixth best team on the Mountaineer schedule, a schedule that has been ranked as high as 21st toughest in the country. Although other rankings put WVU in the fifties and sixties.

With that being said, if the Blue and Gold can limit turnovers and play solid defense the Broncos will ride back to Kalamazoo with a record of 0-1.

WVU - 34 WMU - 17


BlueGoldNews Top Stories