Work to Be Done

On Saturday afternoon Western Michigan University celebrated its Centennial Anniversary. But, despite the 79 degree weather and the absence of rain, there was little else to celebrate following the Broncos 16-59 loss to the Virginia Cavaliers of the ACC. The 21,982 fans in attendance witnessed the one of the most lopsided losses in Broncos history.

In the course of the game against Virginia some things became clear that the Broncos needed to work on. As head coach Gary Darnell said in the post game press conference and defensive end Jason Babin reiterated, the Broncos need to work on tackling. Last season the Broncos had the number one defense in the MAC, but this year, the Broncos have increasingly been unable to make the tackle without giving up some big yardage. Against Michigan State, 21 of MSU's points came on long pass plays when the Broncos defender failed to bring his man down when he got his arm around the receiver. Against Virginia, the Broncos failed to make the tackle which allowed the Cavaliers to rush for 217 yards.

On the ground, Wali Lundy rushed for 121 yards on 26 carries, scoring 2 touchdowns. Lundy out gained the Broncos as a team by 30 yards. Phil Reed led the Broncos with 72 yards on 14 carries and 1 touchdown. Virginia's quarterback Marques Hagans rushed for 68 yards on 9 carries.

The second area that became apparent that the Broncos need to work on is turnovers. The Cavaliers, while playing a virtually error free game, forced 3 fumbles and intercepted Chad Munson twice and Blayne Baggett once. Five of the six turnovers resulted in points for Virginia. Jermaine Hardy forced a fumble following a pass from Munson to Antonio Thomas. Jermaine Winborne recovered the fumble and returned the ball to the Broncos 20 yard line. Lundy ran the ball three straight times, putting the ball in the endzone on his third rushing attempt at the Broncos one yard line.

On the first play of the third quarter Munson was intercepted by Almondo Curry who returned the interception 23 yards for a Cavaliers touchdown. Munson was again intercepted with 4:51 left in the third quarter. This time Winborne picked him off at the Broncos 31 and returned it to the 29 yard line. Four plays later the Cavaliers scored on an 18 yard pass from wide receiver Ottowa Anderson to Lundy on a play that wasn't called but just developed. On the Broncos next drive, Winborne was again in on a Bronco turnover when he forced Munson to fumble as he was being sacked. Andrew Hoffman recovered the ball at the Cavaliers 45 yard line. Hagans connected with Brandon Isaiah 3 plays later for a 9 yard touchdown pass.

On the next Broncos possession, Chad Munson was drilled into the turf and Jon Drach came in to give Munson a rest. Drach led the Broncos down the field on a 12 play drive before fumbling the ball as a result of a Dennis Haley sack. Darryl Blackstock recovered the fumble on Virginia's 26 yard line. Virginia was unable to move the ball as the Broncos defense was able to hold them to a three and out. However, two possessions later Blayne Baggett was intercepted by Tony Franklin who returned the interception 45 yards for the games final touchdown.

The Broncos did have some bright spots in a losing effort. Munson threw for 197 yards and the trio of Munson, Drach and Baggett combined for 317 yards. Seven different receivers caught at least one pass for the Broncos, but none caught for more than 77 yards. Tyson DeVree led all receivers with 77 yards.

In practice last season and this season Adam Anderson has been know for his ability to get booming punts off but struggle at times during games. This season has been just the opposite of the season he had last season as his average has been climbing. On Saturday he launched a booming punt that ended up being a personal career long for him when it traveled 72 yards. On Saturday Anderson averaged 42.8 yards a punt.

For the first time this season the Broncos committed less than five penalties only being called twice, one however erased a kickoff return for a touchdown by Tyrone Walker. Also despite losing the Broncos were able to out gain the Cavaliers in total yards 408-403.

Up next for the Broncos is the Ohio Bobcats. The Broncos will travel to Athens, Ohio on September 27th to open up MAC play, giving them two weeks to prepare for the triple option threat.

Broncos Illustrated Top Stories