After watching this game, Bronco fans have to wonder why this team only has 4 wins. The Broncos, picked to win the MAC, virtually owned the Iowa Hawkeyes, coming away with a 28-19 win. The vaunted Iowa defense had little success at stopping the run or the pass.
Tim Hiller finished the game 26-45 for 367 yards, 3 touchdowns, and no interceptions. Brandon West added 111 yards on 29 carries.
On the other side of the ball the Bronco defense was stellar, holding Iowa's leading rusher to 94 yards, and forcing the Hawkeys to throw more than they're accustomed to.
There were many plays of the game, but one that stands out has to be the 4th and inches call, when the Broncos went Stack-I, only to show play action and throw to a wide open Anthony Middleton. Middleton simply overpowered defender and went into the endzone to give the Broncos a 19-0 lead.
The fireworks weren't over for Middleton. The Broncos took a 5 minute 80 yard drive that was capped by an unbelievable catch. Hiller threw to the back of the endzone where Middleton took it away from two defenders, and got his feet down for the touchdown.
In that same drive Jamarko Simmons made what had to be the catch of the game, when he went up, had it knocked from his hands, juggled it in the air, and came down with it.
Still the Broncos couldn't get the knockout punch in until Des Stephens, in for an injured London Fryar, intercepted a tipped pass. That set up a drive that stalled at the Iowa 11 yard line where Bill Cubit rolled the dice and went with a new kicker.
Chris Kelly, a sophomore walk-on from Walled Lake Central, came in for his first ever field goal attempt. Kelly came in and coolly knocked it through the uprights to seal the win for WMU. With that kick Bill Cubit took off his headset and a big smile followed.
Broncos finished the game with an edge in time of possession, first downs, yards by the running backs, and yards through the air.
Western Michigan had no turnovers, and finished with nearly 500 yards in total offense.
In addition to Brandon West's 111 yards rushing, he also managed 84 yards in kick returns and 96 yards in receiving.
The most impressive thing about this victory is that Western Michigan continues to battle every week, regardless of the heartbreak of past weeks. These kids played with a ton of intensity when they could have packed it in. That's a sign of character and good coaching.
Cubit Post Game Comments
We've had so many close calls, we needed this game and Iowa really needed this game too. I'm just so happy for our kids. We played our hearts out and luckily came out on top.
We should have had two field goals and those probably should have been touchdowns, and we should have had another touchdown when we got the field goal.
I thought the officiating was good, they got the replays right, it was a great thing. (A dig at MAC officials?)
Louis Delmas, I don't know if I've ever seen anyone do what he did. I think he made every tackle on every punt, and had some vicious hits.
CJ Wilson went down, and Mario Armstrong comes in and we don't miss a beat. London goes down, and Des Stephens steps up and make a big play. Robbie went down and Wasikowski goes in and does a great job.
Iowa came into this game believing they were a more physical team than we were, but coming out of this game I'm not sure that happened.
Coach Miller and his defensive staff derserve a lot of credit. We came out in the third quarter and sort of flopped around a little offensively, but the defense kept at it, and didn't allow Iowa to get the momentum.
Iowa doesn't turn the ball over much, and today they did. We got some pressure and them and that helped, and if I'm not mistaken we didn't turn the ball over. When we do that, we're hard to beat.
We had two picks today and those have been hard to come by. We probably should have had 3, but Louis dropped the one that was right in his hands, and then they went in and scored. In past games we couldn't overcome missed plays like that, but tonight we did.
Brandon West had a whale of a ball game. I knew he had a good game, but looking at these stats he really had a great game. We made some adjustments in this game. We used a lot of different plays, and I thought it had them off balance. We try to give people different looks, and the screen pass was working, and tonight it worked out.
Anthony Middleton made a great catch in the back of the endzone. A lot of things went our way, and hopefully this will be the start of a lot of great things happening in the future.
Tim Hiller played well. His run checks were really good, he got hit, but he hung in, and was mentally tough the whole game. The receivers played well too. We put up a lot of yards on a good team. I liked what I saw.
My rule is we don't play movies on the bus after we lose, so a 6 hour bus ride could get pretty boring, but this makes it a little bit easier for us.
Bill Cubit mentioned that he mixed it up a little more today. Iowa got a lot of different looks and it kept them off balance. I thought Cubit's play calling was excellent, and that he spread it around all day long.
Cubit had 11 days to prepare for Iowa. One has to wonder if Coach Cubit is taking on too much responsibility being both the head coach and the offensive coordinator. Tonight's game plan was near flawless, but the Coach also had plenty of time to develop it. In a regular week he has numerous responsibilities in addition to developing a game plan.
Perhaps WMU should pony up the dollars to get a full time offensive coordinator.