Broncos Buck the Chippewas

On Saturday the Western Michigan University Broncos handed arch rival Central Michigan University Chippewas their eighth loss of the season. In the process of doing so the Broncos had several records broken and sent home most of the 17,346 fans in attendance happy and apologetic at the same time.

The fans were happy to see the Broncos win 44-21, a game in which they scored at least one touchdown in each quarter. They were also apologetic after the third straight start from fifth year senior quarterback Jon Drach. For the third straight game Drach passed for over 200 yards, averaging 329.67 yards a game. Saturday he threw for 348 yards, including the longest pass play in WMU history when he hit Greg Jennings with a pass that Jennings broke for a 94 yard touchdown.

In his three starts Drach has completed 69 out of 96 pass for a completion ratio of 72%. He has thrown 12 touchdown passes and just one interception in the last three games. That interception came on Saturday when Kendrick Mosley slipped on the wet NexTurf and Marlin Maxwell found the ball in his arms giving the Chippewas the ball at their own 2 yard line late in the 2nd quarter. "That's been Drach, I really like him," said Chippewas head coach Mike DeBord. Broncos head coach Gary Darnell added, "If there's ever a warm fuzzy for a coach, he (Drach) is it."

Besides his record setting 94 yard TD 94 yard TD catch, Greg Jennings set a new record with 14 touchdown catches in a season. The 94 yard pass play broke Jamie Pass' 87 yard pass to Allan Boykon in a game against Kent State in 1990. In responding to a question about his 94 yard touchdown pass Drach said, "That was the worse throw I made all season." Darnell said, "The actual play and the actual receiver caught it," in response to whether or not the play was a designed play or just happened.

Greg Jennings' 204 yard performance put him second on the all-time list of receiving yards in a game. He moved ahead of Bob Phillips who had 203 yards against Ohio in 1991. His 3 touchdowns tied him with Steve Neal, George Mesko and Al Bellile on that list. Steve Neal is the only one to be on that list twice with 3 touchdowns in a game against Eastern Michigan and Missouri, both games were in the 1999 season. Following Jennings performance DeBord said, "I'm going to call him and tell him I'm a scout and he should go pro."

Drach also threw 2 touchdowns to Mr. Reliable, Kendrick Mosley, one for 21 yards and the final score of the game that went for 7 yards. Drach's five touchdown passes put him in second place on the all-time list for touchdown passes in a game. Chad Munson set the new record of 6 in the game against William & Mary earlier this season. Drach now shares second place with Tim Lester, Jeff Welsh and Norm Harris.

Mosley extended his streak of catching a pass in a game to 41 games. Mosley also needs 7 receptions against Toledo to tie Steve Neal (1999) for most receptions (74) in a season.

Phil Reed finished off the Broncos scoring with his eighth touchdown of the season, a 2 yard run in the second quarter.

Despite giving up 21 point the Broncos defense stood tall shutting down the Chippewas ground game in the first half. The Broncos gave up just 118 yards in the first half and only 75 yards on the ground. Talented freshman running back Jeremy Seymour was held to just 39 yards and no touchdowns. The only touchdown for the Chippewas in the first half came on a 15 yard pass from Derrick Vickers to Steve Messam in the first quarter.

Early in the second quarter Jason Babin tied Joel Smeenge's record of career sacks (34) when he sacked Vickers and forced a fumble in process of getting the sack. Babin broke the record in the fourth quarter when he sacked Vickers for a 9 yard loss.

Babin also set a new record for tackles for loss (70) breaking Smeenge's old record of 66. Babin broke his on school record for tackles for loss in a season (26 in 2002) with 28 this season. His 28 tackles for loss puts him tied for fifth in the MAC record book. He also moved up on the career list needing just 7 to catch Brian Pillman (Miami, 1980-83).

Despite their rushing woes in the first half the Chippewas came out in the second half and were able to run the ball with some ease early in the second half. Seymour finished the game with 162 yards on the ground but it was Terrence Jackson who was called on in the red zone. Jackson opened and closed the scoring in the third quarter with touchdown runs of 2 yards and 1 yard.

Seymour's 162 yard effort was his sixth 100 yard rushing game this year.

Vickers has not thrown an interception in 89 attempts. He is also now in second place on the CMU record book with 470 career completion and is the 3rd CMU quarterback to pass for over 5,000 yards in his career.

Another area that continues to shine for the Broncos is their special teams. Place kicker Robert Menchinger extended his streak of consecutive PAT's to 63 the school record of 71 was set by John Creek (1985-88). Menchinger has passed Mike Prindle (55), Brad Selent (48) and Alton Laupp (38) on that list. His 38 PAT's this season puts him in 3rd place behind Selent (47 in 2000 and 40 in 1998) on the all time list for WMU. With 126 career PAT points he is second on WMU's all-time list behind Selent (157) a record that should be within reach as Menchinger returns for his senior season next year.

Menchinger also set a personal record with making a 41 yard field goal in the first quarter making it a career long for him.

Not to be outdone by Menchinger, Adam Anderson teamed up with Chad Feldpausch and both awed the crowd and members of the media. The duo made it a mission to strategically place punts inside the 5 yard line and succeeded 4 times. By the time the ball was starting it's decent, Feldpausch was standing on the one yard line waiting for the ball as if he was the punt returner.

One thing is for certain, Anderson's nomination for the 2004 Ray Guy award should already be on its way.

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