Finding That Silver Lining

Following the 59-33 loss to the Rockets of Toledo and the 1-4 (0-2 MAC) start to the season the dark clouds have been building over Waldo Stadium. The Broncos have yet to defeat a Division-1A opponent this season and the natives (the fans that is) are getting restless. With all that has gone wrong with the season so far there has to be a silver lining to those clouds somewhere, right?

The Broncos have had a rough season so far to say the least. "When you come after a game such as [the loss to] Toledo what you have to do is look for the good things that happened in the game," said head coach Gary Darnell. "We're the team [in the MAC] looking for the silver lining to the clouds right now."

After four straight losses the Broncos will need to find some of those silver linings to build off of to turn the season around according to Darnell.

Following the sound victory over Division-1AA opponent Tennessee-Martin the Broncos have been competitive in just one of their games this season. That game was against an Illinois team that came from behind to defeat the Broncos after WMU made one mistake too many. The silver lining? WMU played well enough to win if it were not for any number of plays that didn't go right that could have sealed the victory.

Against Virginia Tech the Broncos managed a grand total of zero points compared to the Hokies' 63. The silver lining? Despite not being able to score a single point the WMU offense did move the ball down the field quite well.

Against Ball State – a team players and fans alike expected WMU to beat – the Broncos lost 41-14 under the lights in Muncie, IN. The silver lining? The Bronco defense held Ball State to minus-six yards of offense on their first two drives – both three-and-outs.

And now the 59-33 loss at the hands of Toledo, a team WMU has beat just twice in well over a decade. The Broncos opened with a 10-3 lead following a Robert Menchinger 42-yard field goal and a Greg Jennings touchdown reception of 45 yards. The defense stifled the Rockets early in the game. Then the floodgates opened and the Rockets would head into halftime with a commanding 45-20 lead and they never looked back.

"Toledo is a really good football team, give that to them," said Darnell.

Where is the silver lining now? "The offensive line played outstanding," said junior quarterback Ryan Cubit who threw for 266 yards against the Rockets. "I think I only got hit maybe twice the whole game."

And the Broncos were able to move down field behind that offensive line scoring 33 points with touchdown passes to Greg Jennings and Tyrone Walker. The running game suffered however. Trovon Riley and Mark Bonds accounted for a mere 36 yards of the Broncos total offense adding zero touchdowns.

The Bronco offense was on the field only 21 minutes of the game while Toledo had the field for 39 minutes of the game. To Darnell that fact coupled with the score was even a silver lining, "if you look at time versus production our offense was actually a little more productive then their offense was.

"So obviously we were moving the ball well, but then you get to the huge black cloud and that was the turnovers," said Darnell. The Broncos threw three interceptions and lost two fumbles in the game, all of which led to eventual Rocket scores.

The Bronco defense is an area that really struggled allowing 649 yards of total offense, 350 on the ground and 299 in the air. The Broncos gave up 59 points in the game, the second time they've given up over 50 and third time giving up over 40 this season.

There is one big silver lining on the remaining season. The Broncos have six games left and although they would need a ton of help to do it WMU is not mathematically out of the MAC title race yet. Over half the season remains, which may or may not be a good thing.


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