2008 Western Michigan Broncos Season

2008 Western Michigan Broncos Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 Western Michigan Broncos

Dec. 30
2008 Texas Bowl
Rice 38 … Western Michigan 14

It was supposed to be a shootout and only one team showed up. Rice was up 38-0 in the fourth quarter thanks to a variety of trick plays including a 13-yard touchdown pass from WR Jarett Dillard to QB Chase Clement. Clements also ran for a 26-yard touchdown and threw three touchdown passes, including an 18-yarder to Dillard and a 45-yarder to James Casey that was intended for Dillard. The potent WMU offense finally got going when the outcome had been decided with two Tim Hiller touchdown passes in the final 6:33.
Player of the Game: Rice QB Chase Clement completed 30-of-44 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns, led the team with 72 rushing yards and a touchdown on 12 carries, and caught a pass for 13 yards and a score. 
Stat Leaders: Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 19-42, 198 yds, 2 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Brandon West, 15-56. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 6-92
Rice - Passing: Chase Clement, 30-44, 307 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Chase Clement, 12-72, 1 TD. Receiving: Jarett Dillard, 8-86, 1 TD
Inside The Box Score ...  5 Thoughts on the Texas Bowl …Western Michigan S Louis Delmas led all tacklers with 10 stops, seven of them solo … Third down conversions: Rice 13-of-20 – WMU 3-of-14 … Time of possession: Rice 38:29 – WMU 21:31 … Total yards: Rice 455 – WMU 278 … First half yardage: Rice 283 – WMU 90

- 2008 WMU Preview
- 2007 WMU Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 9-4

Aug. 30 at Nebraska L 47-24
Sept. 6 Northern Illinois W 29-26
Sept. 13 at Idaho W 51-28
Sept. 20 Tenn Tech W 41-7
Sept. 27 at Temple W 7-3
Oct. 4 Ohio W 41-20
Oct. 11 at Buffalo W 34-28 OT
Oct. 18 at Central Mich L 38-28
Nov. 1 Eastern Michigan W 31-10
Nov. 8 Illinois (Detroit) W 23-17
Nov. 15 Toledo W 27-17
Nov. 25 at Ball State L 45-22
Texas Bowl
Dec. 30 Rice L 38-14

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record:

Sept. 1 at W Virginia L 62-24
Sept. 8
Indiana L 37-27
Sept. 15 at Missouri L 52-24
Sept. 22
Cent Conn. St W 51-14
Sept. 29 at Toledo W 42-28
Oct. 6
Akron L 39-38
Oct. 13 at No Illinois W 17-13
Oct. 20 Ball State L 27-23
Oct. 27 at Eastern Mich L 19-2
Nov. 6 Central Mich L 34-31
Nov. 17 at Iowa W 28-19
Nov. 24
Temple W 16-3

Nov. 25
Ball State 45 … Western Michigan 22
Ball State came out roaring with an early 14-0 lead on the first of MiQuale Lewis's three touchdown runs and a 40-yard touchdown catch from Louis Johnson. WMU rallied back to tie it on a nine-yard Jan Nunez scoring grab, but the Cardinals ended it with a 24-point run on short touchdown runs from Nate Davis and Lewis along with a 35-yard interception return for a score from Trey Lewis. Lewis put the game away with a one-yard touchdown run with just under five minutes to play.
Player of the game: Ball State RB MiQuale Lewis ran 32 times for 120 yards and three touchdowns, and he caught four passes for 30 yards.
Stat Leaders: Ball State - Passing: Nate Davis, 17-25, 273 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: MiQuale Lewis, 32-120, 3 TD. Receiving: Briggs Orsbon, 5-63
Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 15-32, 145 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Aaron Winchester, 14-77. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 6-84
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... WMU will certainly be disappointed to not win the MAC title, or even the West, but going 9-3 with the shot at a ten-win season after the bowl is nothing to dismiss. The passing game never quite got working against Ball State, while the defense couldn't handle the hot Cardinal offense in the second half. The defense couldn't do enough to get to Nate Davis, while the back seven had a hard time finding MiQuale Lewis, like everyone does. Now it's wait-and-see time on the bowl bid.

Nov. 15
Western Michigan 27 …Toledo 17
Western Michigan got three touchdown passes from Tim Hiller including two in a 20-point run in the second and third quarters, but the Broncos didn't put it away until Matt Stevens caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the fourth. Toledo scored first on a 27-yard Stephen Williams catch, but that was the only touchdown until a one-yard Aaron Opelt run in the final minutes. Toledo converted 4-of-5 fourth down chances.
Player of the game: Western Michigan S E.J. Biggers made 10 tackles, 1.5 tackles for loss, broke up two passes, and forced a fumble
Stat Leaders: Toledo - Passing: Aaron Opelt, 18-31, 213 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Morgan Williams, 16-83. Receiving: Nick Moore, 10-97
Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 22-36, 225 yds, 3 TD, 1 TD
Rushing: Aaron Winchester, 28-111. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 8-96

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Alright Western Michigan, here's your shot at the big bad boy on the block. After getting through a nice three-game stretch of wins highlighted by the victory over Illinois, the Broncos get a week off before the showdown against Ball State to see just how good the team really is. It was almost as if WMU went through the motions against Toledo, but it'll need all the parts working, and to do even more to generate pressure into the backfield to pull off the win. Merely being efficient like the team was against Toledo isn't going to cut it.

Nov. 8
Western Michigan 23 … Illinois 17
Western Michigan stunned Illinois by holding on late after Juice Williams drove the offense down to the Bronco 18, while Tim Hiller did his part early on. The Bronco offense was stuffed in the second half, managing just a 45-yard John Potter field goal, but got two Hiller touchdown passes in the second quarter to go along with two other Potter field goals. Illinois kept pace with a Jason Ford one-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and a five-yard Jeff Cumberland scoring catch in the fourth, but it wasn't enough.
Player of the game: Western Michigan WR Jamarko Simmons caught 11 passes for 174 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Illinois - Passing: Juice Williams, 20-45, 328 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Juice Williams, 12-68. Receiving: Arrelious Benn, 7-111
Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 28-40, 301 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Brandon West, 18-57. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 11-174, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... If Western Michigan doesn't get an at-large MAC bowl bid after pulling off the win over Illinois, it deserves to do some screaming. The Broncos were fearless. They started out blitzing and never quit, even in the biggest moments late, and it kept Illinois off its game. Illinois didn't run well enough to scare the WMU defensive backs, and it showed in the pass defense. There's still the big date with Ball State in a few weeks, so the Broncos can't let down against Toledo in a sandwich date.

Nov. 1
Western Michigan 31 … Eastern Michigan 10
Tim Hiller threw three touchdown passes and Brandon West ran for 166 yards and a one-yard score as Western Michigan overcame a sloppy game to get by EMU. The Broncos turned it over three times and committed 11 penalties, but Eastern Michigan wasn't able to take advantage only managing a 19-yard Terrence Blevins touchdown run in the second and a 28-yard field goal in the third. WMU pulled away with a good fourth quarter with Branden Ledbetter putting it away with a 34-yard catch.
Player of the game: Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller completed 24-of-36 passes for 339 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: Eastern Michigan - Passing: Andy Schmitt, 21-35, 272 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Terrence Blevins, 15-52, 1 TD. Receiving: Jacory Stone, 6-85
Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 24-36, 339 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Brandon West, 29-166, 1 TD. Receiving: Schneider Julien, 10-90, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... While beating Eastern Michigan was nice, WMU has bigger fish to fry. Already bowl eligible with six wins, the Broncos can all but secure a spot with a win over Illinois next week in Detroit. While that would be a nice win, beating Ball State at the end of the month would be better. The goal at the moment will be to tighten up. There were too many penalties and too many errors against the Eagles, but on the plus side, there was good balance and Tim Hiller had another strong day.

Oct. 18
Central Michigan 38 … Western Michigan 28
In a wild shootout, CMU's Brian Brunner threw for 346 yards with a 24-yard touchdown pass to Joe Bockheim, and Brian Schroeder ran for two first half scores, as the Dan LeFevour-less Chippewas pulled away in the second half. LeFevour was out with an ankle injury, and Brunner came through. WMU got a 471-yard passing day from Tim Hiller with three Bronco receivers going over the 100-yard mark, but the CMU defense came up with the big stop when it had to in the second half. In a see-saw game, Hiller hit Juan Nunez for a six-yard touchdown pass early in the third, but CMU answered with a two-yard Antonio Brown TD pass to Rocky Weaver on a trick play on the way to a 17-7 run to close out. The two teams combined to amass 1,044 yards of total offense.
Player of the game: Central Michigan QB Brian Brunner completed 20-of 28 passes for 346 yards and a touchdown with an interception and he ran six times for 22 yards
Stat Leaders: Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 38-53, 471 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Brandon West, 18-53, 2 TD. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 13-118
Central Michigan - Passing: Brian Brunner, 20-28, 346 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Bryan Schroeder, 25-106, 2 TD. Receiving: Antonio Brown, 10-113

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Just when it seems like Western Michigan is ready to turn the corner, it loses the one really big game it needs. While not out of the MAC hunt after the loss to Central Michigan, there's no margin for error. Tim Hiller was terrific and the receiving corps was unstoppable until the fourth quarter. If the offense is going to keep cranking like it did this week, beating Eastern Michigan shouldn't be a problem before dealing with Illinois in Detroit.

Oct. 11
Western Michigan 34 … Buffalo 28 OT
Western Michigan forced overtime on a Jamarko Simmons nine-yard touchdown catch with five seconds to play. Buffalo got the ball first, but QB Drew Willy was intercepted by Louis Delmas on a tipped pass, and Brandon Ledbetter ended it on a two-yard touchdown catch. Buffalo had a 21-3 lead late in the third quarter on James Starks touchdown runs from six, 66 and two yards out, and then it was all WMU. Tim Hiller threw the ball 63 times with four touchdown passes in the final 9:43 and overtime. The Broncos only managed two John Potter field goals over the first 50 minutes.
Player of the game: Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller completed 42-of-63 passes for 345 yards and four touchdowns with an interception
Stat Leaders: Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 17-34, 157 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: James Starks, 28-125, 3 TD. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 4-44
Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 42-63, 345 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brandon West, 11-59. Receiving: Schneider Julien, 12-111, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Tim Hiller heated up and Buffalo couldn't do anything to stop the momentum. Schneider Julien and Jamarko Simmons were uncoverable in the fourth quarter, and while it wasn't good to get down early, the team showed it's able to mount a big comeback. Now the Broncos are on a six-game winning streak and are 4-0 in the MAC going into the showdown date at Central Michigan.

Oct. 4
Western Michigan 41 … Ohio 20
Western Michigan got four touchdown passes from Tim Hiller including two to Brandon West from 18 and 45 yards out, and West also added a 26-yard touchdown run with a 107 yards on the ground in the win. Ohio hung tough in a wild fourth quarter with Boo Jackson hitting David Carter for a two-yard score and Donte Harden for a 41-yard touchdown, but it wasn't nearly enough. Each team turned it over three times.
Player of the game: Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller completed 24-of-37 passes for 347 yards and four touchdowns and an interception, and he ran five times for 51 yards
Stat Leaders: Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 24-37, 347 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Brandon West, 22-107, 1 TD. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 8-87, 1 TD
- Passing: Boo Jackson, 13-22, 144 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Donte Harden, 12-65. Receiving: Andrew Mooney, 5-67, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... It hasn't always been pretty, and there were some close MAC wins over Northern Illinois and Temple, but Western Michigan is on a five-game winning streak and is in the MAC driver's seat after beating Ohio with relative ease. The offense was balanced and efficient, and Tim Hiller did a great job of keeping the chains moving. Now come the real tests with road trips to Buffalo and Central Michigan, and there's still the away game at Ball State to close things out.

Sept. 27
Western Michigan 7 … Temple 3
Jake Brownell hit a 45-yard field goal for Temple's lone score, and Juan Nunes caught a 30-yard touchdown pass in the third for Western Michigan. That was it. Temple was held to 196 yards of total offense, and while Western Michigan was held to 288 with just 36 yards rushing. The two teams combined for 18 penalties and each converted just 4-of-16 third down chances.
Player of the game: Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller went 26-of-42 for 252 yards, one touchdown, and one interception.
Stat Leaders: Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 26-42, 252 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Brandon West, 15-35. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 8-67
- Passing: Chester Stewart, 10-20, 60 yds
James Nixon, 3-53. Receiving: Bruce Francis, 4-27

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Western Michigan has to find a way to get the offense in sync. It worked against the true dregs like Idaho and Tennessee Tech, but the offensive line was dominated by Temple and the ground game went nowhere. Tim Hiller did a nice job of being the offense and spreading the ball around, but he didn't do much to keep the chains moving and he was never able to out the game away. The defense was dominant, and now it has to be even better against Ohio next week.

Sept. 20
Western Michigan 41 ... Tennessee Tech 7
Tim Hiller threw five touchdown passes with two to Kirk Elsworth and a 19-yarder to Jamarko Simmons on the way to an easy win. The Broncos rolled up 633 yard of total offense and only punted once. Tennessee Tech got its only points on a 24-yard Tim Benford touchdown catch late in te first quarter, but it never got closer as WMU scored 28 unanswered points.
Player of the game:
Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller completed 27-of-31 passes for 333 yards and five touchdowns with an interception
Stat Leaders: Western Michigan
- Passing: Tim Hiller, 27-31, 333 yds, 5 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brandon West, 14-133, 1 TD. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 10-115, 1 TD
Tennessee Tech - Passing: Josh Wheeler, 19-33, 151 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Henry Sailes, 12-45  Receiving: Tim Benford, 7-70, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... WMU committed 10 penalties for 65 yards. That's the only negative to take away from a dominant performance over an overmatched Tennessee Tech. Tim Hiller has been on fire over the last two games, spreading the ball around well and doing a great job of pushing the ball deep averaging 9.4 yards per pass this week. He won't have to be explosive to beat Temple next week. He'll just have to be effective. He can do that as long as Brandon West and the ground game are rolling.

Sept. 13
Western Michigan 51 … Idaho 28
Western Michigan started off the game with a 47-yard interception return for a score from Louis Delmas, but the secondary struggled with Eddie Williams, who caught nine passes for 161 yards and a 50-yard touchdown to tie it at seven. Tied at 14, WMU broke things open with a 23-point third quarter run helped by two Branden Ledbetter touchdown catches and a sack for a safety from Josh Price. Idaho tried to come back with two Nathan Enderle fourth quarter touchdown passes, but WMU stayed ahead with Jamarko Simmons' second touchdown catch of the game and a 42-yard Drew Burdi field goal.
Player of the game:
Western Michigan QB Tim Hiller completed 23-of-31 passes for 241 yards and four touchdowns.
Stat Leaders: Western Michigan
- Passing: Tim Hiller, 23-31, 241 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: Brandon West, 15-95, 1 TD. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 6-86, 2 TD
Idaho - Passing: Nathan Enderle, 35-49, 334 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Deonte Jackson, 21-110, 1 TD. Receiving: Eddie Williams, 9-161, 1 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The defense continues to struggle to play up to its experience and talent level. It was more aggressive and more effective at getting into the backfield against Idaho, but it allowed too many yards, 455, and couldn't get off the field. WMU held on to the ball for just 24 minutes, but the ground game cranked out some big plays and the offense exploded when it had to in the third quarter to put the game away.

Sept. 6
Western Michigan 29 … Northern Illinois 26
Western Michigan took the lead for good midway through the fourth quarter as Tim Hiller ran for a five-yard touchdown and threw a one-yard scoring pass to Austin Pritchard, a linebacker. NIU came up with a 16-yard Greg Turner touchdown catch in the final minute, but couldn't recover the onside kick. The Broncos got a 26-yard Jamarko Simmons scoring grab in the first half along with a seven-yard Brandon West touchdown run, but the Huskies stayed alive with two Mike Salerno field goals before taking the lead on a three-yard Demarcus Gray run. And then Hiller took charge of the game and the Broncos survived.
Player of the game:
 Western Michigan RB Brandon West ran 25 times for 175 yards and caught two passes for nine yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Northern Illinois - Passing: Dan Nicholson, 16-29, 239 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Meco Brown, 13-54, 1 TD  Receiving: Marcus Perez, 6-77
Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 21-30, 186 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Brandon West, 25-175. Receiving: Jamarko Simmons, 8-102, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The Bronco defense hasn't kicked in yet. The pass rush wasn't bad against Northern Illinois, generating four sacks, but the D has too much experience to not be far better. The offense came up with the yards and the points when it had to, but it struggled to keep the chains moving converting just 3-of-10 chances. Even so, Tim Hiller pulled off the win and Brandon West ran extremely well to provide a near-perfect balance. WMU ran for 198 yards and threw for 186.

Aug. 30
Nebraska 47 ... Western Michigan 24
Nebraska got up 17-0 and stayed comfortably ahead all game long with a strong passing day from Joe Ganz, who threw four touchdown passes, highlighted by a 61-yarder to Nate Swift. Swift also caught a two-yarder, and Marlon Lucky scored on a 14-yard run and a 19-yard pass. Western Michigan put up 342 passing yards, but failed to make a big run with scores spread throughout the game. Tim Hiller threw two touchdown passes.
Player of the game: Nebraska QB Joe Ganz completed 20 of 36 passes for 345 yards and four touchdowns with two interceptions, and he ran for 38 yards.
Stat Leaders: Western Michigan - Passing: Tim Hiller, 30-49, 342 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brandon West, 12-29, 1 TD. Receiving: Brandon Ledbetter, 9-123, 1 TD
Nebraska - Passing: Joe Ganz, 20-36, 345 yds, 4 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Roy Helu, 7-52. Receiving: Nate Swift, 5-121, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The defense
tried to be more aggressive against Nebraska, but it didn't do nearly enough to generate pressure in the backfield and the secondary got picked apart. The running game wasn't there all game long, putting the pressure on Tim Hiller to produce, and while he threw well, there has to be more balance going into MAC play next week against Northern Illinois. Again, though, the pass rush has to be more effective.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Mitch Zajac ILB 6-1 220 Fr./Fr. Holt, Mich./Holt HS
Earned 12 varsity letters heading in football, wrestling and track & fi eld … 2007 All-State Dream Team Member … 2007 Academic All-State award recipient … 2007 Football Michigan ‘Great 8' Finalist … selected to the Michigan All-Star East vs. West Game in 2007 … received honorable mention for all-state as a junior … preseason and postseason all-area Defensive Player of the Year as a senior … four-time All-Capital Area Activities Conference (CAAC) selection … three time All-Area Dream Team selection … holds football program records for tackles in a season (165) and games started in a career (44) … member of four-time CAAC championship football team … team finished in the Associated Press Top 10 each year … combined four-year record of 37-7 … named Team MVP and Team Defensive Player of the Year in 2007

Potential Instant Impact Players

Kevin Galeher OT 6-5 295 Fr./Fr. Evergreen Park, Ill./Saint Rita HS
Ranked No. 43 overall in Illinois by Scout.com … team amassed 32-8 record (2005-07) en route to winning 2007 City Championship … team went 13-1 in 2006 on its way to winning Chicago Catholic League Blue championship and the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) State Championship … earned All-Chicago Catholic League Blue as a junior and senior … named all-state and all-area in 2006 and 2007 … varsity starter on football and wrestling teams since sophomore season … placed second (275 lbs.) at state wrestling tournament in 2005.

Jeff Zipfel TE 6-6 215 Fr./Fr. Ixonia, Wis./Kettle Moraine HS
Ranked No. 9 in Wisconsin by Scout.com and WisconsinPreps.com … named First Team All-Classic Eight Conference in 2007 … earned Second Team All-Classic Eight Conference in 2006 … member of a team that went 6-1 in the conference and finished second … compiled 62 career receptions for 1,073 career yards and 17 touchdowns … posted career highs in receptions (28) as a senior … had career season in terms of yards (481) and receiving touchdowns (8) in 2006 … averaged over 13 yards a catch in 2005 (13.0), 2006 (20.0) and 2007 (16.5) … three-year varsity letterwinner in football … two-year starter for the basketball team … qualified for state track & field meet in the high jump in 2006 and 2007.

Rest of the Class
Jamail Berry SS 6-0 190 R-So./Jr. New Castle, Del./Coffeyville CC Kansas/William Penn HS
Freddie Bishop III DE 6-4 247 Fr./Fr. Inkster, Mich./Carleton Airport HS
Ryan Byrne DT 6-0 275 Fr./Fr. Woodstock, Ga./Etowah HS
Alex Carder QB 6-2 205 Fr./Fr. Shawnee, Kan./Shawnee Mission Northwest HS
Kelly Dawsey DB 6-0 177 Fr./Fr. Valdosta, Ga./Lowndes HS
Blake Hammond TE 6-5 236 Fr./Fr. Mokena, Ill./Lincoln Way East HS
Lawrence Henning OLB 6-2 205 Fr./Fr. Chicago, Ill./Mount Carmel HS
Samuel Jaeger OL 6-5 321 Fr./Fr. Westville, Ind./Chesteron HS
Kyle Lackner ILB 6-3 230 Fr./Fr. Naperville, Ill./Naperville North HS
Deauntay Legrier DE 6-1 240 Fr./Fr. Rochelle, Ga./Wilcox County HS
Drew Nowak DE 6-4 250 Fr./Fr. Green Bay, Wis./De Pere HS
Seth Patterson WR 6-3 185 Fr./Fr. Round Rock, Texas/Stony Point HS
Weston Peiffer DE 6-4 245 Fr./Fr. Chaska, Minn./Chaska HS
John Potter K 6-2 195 Fr./Fr. Grand Haven, Mich./Grand Haven HS
Josh Price DB 6-0 195 Fr./Fr. Jacksonville, Fla./Terry Parker HS
Chris Prom DE 6-4 220 Fr./Fr. Saukville, Wis./Port Washington HS
Waymon Ross OLB 6-1 225 Fr./Fr. Marathon, Fla./Marathon HS
Ravelle Sadler CB 5-10 175 Fr./Fr. Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain HS
Jamie Simpson RB 6-1 237 Fr./Fr. Dowagiac, Mich./Dowagiac Union HS
Alexander Starkey OL 6-4 280 Fr./Fr. Winter Park, Fla./Lake Howell HS
Doug Wiggins WR 5-11 197 So./So. North Miami Beach, Fla./North Miami Beach HS
Aaron Winchester RB 5-9 190 Fr./Fr. North Miami Beach, Fla./North Miami Beach HS

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: The offense should go ballistic. QB Tim Hiller needed a year to get everything together after missing 2006 hurt, and now he should be among the league's most productive passers with WR Jamarko Simmons, TE Brandon Ledbetter, and pass-catching RB Brandon West to work with. The defense was a bit of a disappointment, but it wasn't all that bad and now all 11 starters are back, and all are seniors.
Why to be grouchy: The line wasn't exactly a rock when it came to pass protection, and now three starters are gone including both tackles and All-MAC center Robbie Krutilla. The kicking game was a positive with Mike Jones hitting 11 of 15 field goals and P Jim Laney leading the way to a solid 36.31 team net average. Both are gone.
The number one thing to work on is: Turning the dogs loose on defense. Without Ameer Ismail, the pass rush was inconsistent after dominating in 2006. The sacks were there at times, and now, with everyone back on D, there's no reason to not spend the off-season figuring out how to get more out of the seniors and start wreaking havoc in the backfield game in and game out. With so many good MAC offenses this year, having a disruptive defensive front could be the difference.
Biggest offensive loss: OT James Blair
Biggest defensive loss: FS Anthony Gebhart
Best returning offensive player: WR Jamarko Simmons, Sr.
Best returning defensive player: CB Londen Fryar, Sr.

2007 Recap
Recap: Although the talent level and expectations were high enough for the Broncos to be playing in December, the execution and consistency was not, resulting in a disappointing 5-7 season.  With a break here or a timely big play there, the final record could just have easily been 8-4 for Western Michigan, which lost three league games in a span of five weeks by a combined eight points.  The Broncos finished the regular season strong, especially on defense, lending hope that the good vibes will bleed into the offseason.          
Offensive Player of the Year: RB Brandon West

Defensive Player of the Year: CB Londen Fryar

Biggest Surprise: With the postseason officially out of reach, the Broncos turned a Nov. 17 trip to Iowa City into their own personal bowl game.  Western Michigan floored Iowa on Senior Day, 28-19, getting 367 yards and three touchdown passes from Tim Hiller, easily the quarterback's most complete performance of the season.         

Biggest Disappointment: Although there were a few to choose from, losing on Oct. 6 to Akron on the final play was an outcome that sent Western Michigan into a month-long funk.  Seemingly on their way to a 3-3 record, the Broncos inexcusably permitted an 89-yard kick return for a touchdown with time running out, losing 39-38.              

Looking Ahead: Assuming the right side of the offensive line can be rebuilt, Western Michigan has enough returning veterans to erase the memory of last season's underachievement.  It's incumbent upon Hiller to build on last year's solid finish, and make the offense more explosive.


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