Broncos fall to Knights

On a beautiful, but cloudy, Saturday afternoon, the Western Michigan University Broncos lost to the University of Central Florida Golden Knights 27-31. Both teams went into the game with strong passing, special teams, and defensive units. However, the Golden Knights were able to put together a strong effort to come back from a 21-7 first half deficit.

The game with the Golden Knight marked the 3rd time the Broncos have played against and have lost to a team from Florida. The Broncos are 0-3 vs. the State of Florida. The first loss was to the Florida State Seminoles 58-0 in 1991 and to the Florida Gators in 1999 55-26. The loss also marks the first time since the 1996, season in which the Broncos finished 2-9, that the Broncos lost back-to-back home games. Despite the loss, the Broncos extended their consecutive game streak in which they have recorded at least one sack to 31 games. Also, the 2 interceptions took the season total for the Broncos to 8 and matched the total number of interceptions on the season last season. The Golden Knights won the coin toss and deferred, giving the Broncos the ball first. On the opening drive, the Broncos drove down the field in 9 plays for 77 yards and scored on a 7-yard pass from quarterback Chad Munson to Antonio Thomas.

On UCF's first possession, Nick Melcher forced a fumble after Ryan Schneider completed a pass to Tavaris Capers. Sam Reynolds picked up the fumble at the UCF 42-yard line and returned it 37 yards to the UCF 5-yard line. It took 2 plays and an illegal procedure penalty for the Broncos to put some more points on the board. Chad Munson connected with Phil Reed for an 11-yard touchdown pass.

UCF was able to get on the board on their next drive. The drive started with an incomplete pass to Doug Gabriel, but 6 consecutive completions and a 3-yard run by Andreal Curry put the Golden Knights on the board.

Both teams kind of bogged down for a couple of drives, in the 2nd quarter, until a Ryan Schneider pass was intercepted by Jason Malloy and returned 46 yards for a touchdown. The interception was his first career interception, just as his touchdown was his first career touchdown.

UCF than took control of the game at that point. A 41-yard completion from Schneider to Jimmy Fryzel helped set up the Golden Knights second touchdown of the game, a 6-yard run by Luther Huggins.

With less than a minute remaining in the 1st half, the Golden Knights were able to tie the game up at 21-21 after Adam Anderson shanked a punt out of pounds at WMU's 41 for a 13-yard punt. With great field position, UCF went on a 6-play 41-yard drive that culminated with a 12-yard pass from Schneider to Fryzel.

The Broncos regained the lead after Carlos Smith intercepted a Schneider pass at the UCF 26-yard line, on just the 3rd play of the 3rd quarter. Munson led the Broncos down to the UCF 10-yard line, aided by Jason Babin's 3rd career pass reception for his 3rd 1st down. So far for the Broncos on the offensive side of the ball, Babin has caught every pass that has been thrown to him and has made sure to make each pass count by gaining a Bronco first down. The drive stalled however, and the Broncos settled for a 27-yard Anthony Apa field goal.

Neither team was able to put any more points on the board until the 14:30 mark of the 4th quarter when Schneider capped a 7 play, 54-yard drive with a 12-yard pass from Gabriel. The touchdown gave the Golden Knights the lead for the first time and a lead they would never relinquish.

The Broncos did however put points on the board on their next drive. On a 3rd and 6 Munson connected with Mobolaji Afariogun for a 60-yard gain. That put the ball on the UCF 15 after Atari Bigby was able to catch up to him and bring him down from behind. The Broncos couldn't move the ball after that however, when the next 3 passes fell incomplete, Antonio Thomas and Afariogun dropped the first two. However, the Broncos put points on the board with a 32-yard Anthony Apa field goal, to pull within 1 at 28-27.

The Knights drove down the field on their next series, aided by a WMU pass interference penalty, and put 3 more points on the board with a Matt Prater 26-yard field goal. Which would end up being the final points put up on the board for either team, giving the Knights a 31-27 lead.

The Broncos would not be down however. Munson led a time consuming drive downfield in attempt to take the lead back and secure the victory. On the drive he completed 7 of 9 passes, the longest being a 25-yard strike to Thomas for 25-yards. With 0:45 on the clock and the Broncos at the 7-yard line on a 2nd and 1 instead of running the ball to get the first down and use up a little more of the clock, Munson threw a pass. Coach Darnell and Munson would both, later on, call that pass a bad throw. The pass was intercepted by Assante Samuel and returned to the UCF 23-yard line and ended the game for the Broncos.

The Broncos travel to Bowling Green, Ohio next Saturday to take on the undefeated Bowling Green State University Falcons. The Falcons defeated Central Michigan on Saturday 45-35.

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