2011 Predictions & Game Story
Week 2 - Nicholls St at Western Mich
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Sept. 10 at Western Michigan 38 … Nicholls State 7
CFN Analysis: COMING
(AP) KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Alex Carder threw for 143 yards and two touchdowns to lead Western Michigan past Nicholls State 38-7 on Saturday night.
Both of Carder's scoring passes came in the first half along with a pair of touchdown runs by Brian Fields, who finished with 54 yards rushing.
Chika Madu accounted for the only score for the Colonels (1-1) with a 36-yard interception return midway through the second quarter.
The Broncos (1-1) led 28-7 at halftime.
Antoin Scriven increased the lead to 35-7 with a short touchdown dash in the third quarter. John Potter capped it off with a 40-yard field goal in the fourth.
The Broncos' Tevin Drake led the game in rushing with 86 yards.
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Here's The Deal … Western Michigan moved the ball up and down the field against Michigan last week, but it was done in by a few timely big plays from the Wolverine defense and ultimately lost out to the weather, which halted the game a quarter early. While it would've been miraculous to have come back from a 34-10 deficit, with the way the attack was working, the Broncos could've made it interesting. Now comes the layup before starting out the MAC season against Central Michigan. With road games to Illinois and Connecticut to follow, the Broncos need to roll over the next two weeks.
Nicholls State came up with a blowout in its cupcake game, beating Evangel 42-0, and this is the first of two games against FBS teams with Louisiana-Lafayette coming up next. The Colonels run the ball extremely well and have a ton of experience, but they're about to be in for an offensive storm if WMU plays up to its capabilities.
Why Nicholls State Might Win: 49 lettermen return to a team that struggled last year, but came on strong at the end to win two straight. The ground game has the weapons to cross up the Bronco defensive front, using it quirky attack to use several different runners and get several players involved throughout. The Colonels ran for 326 yards last week with quarterback Laquintin Caston running for 137 yards and two touchdowns, while also completing 5-of-13 passes for 39 yards and a score. There's a chance the Broncos are kept on their heels and NSU controls the clock on the ground to keep Alex Carder and company off the field.
Why Western Michigan Might Win: The offense is in midseason form. The Broncos couldn't handle the well-timed Michigan blitzes, but everything else worked for three quarters with Carder dinking and dunking the offense down the field. The Wolverines came up with two defensive scores to turn the game around, but the Broncos held their own. Offensive balance against the Colonels won't be a problem, and unlike last week, Carder won't be getting tagged on a regular basis. NSU has an okay pass rush, but it's not stellar.
What To Watch Out For: It might not seem sexy, but for a team that relies so heavily on field position, Nicholls State needs to win the field position battle. Cory Kemps had a great first game, averaging 48 yards per kick putting two inside the 20, while the return game was excellent. Bobby Felder returned two kicks for 89 yards, and he needs to break a few big plays to match the production from the WMU offense. The Broncos have a strong punter of their own in Ben Armer, who was only needed twice against Michigan, but he came through averaging 46.5 yards per try with one put inside the 20.
While Alex Carder became the focus of the Michigan game, it was Jordan White who was the star. The receiver who received a sixth year of eligibility caught 12 passes for 119 yards and picked apart the Michigan secondary. Carder and White should be able to hook up at least ten times as the Broncos use the midrange pass almost like an extension of the running game.
What Will Happen: NSU will come up with 250 yards on the ground and will control the clock for stretches, but it won't be nearly enough. The Western Michigan offense will get hot early and will put away the game without a problem. Just like last week against Michigan, this game will be over after three quarters.
CFN Prediction: Western Michigan 45 … Nicholls State 20
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