CFN Take: Western Mich 6 TOs In NIU Loss
Posted Nov 28, 2014

Western Michigan Broncos 2014 ... Head Coach: P.J. Fleck

Western Michigan Broncos

2014 Schedule
Record: 8-4

Aug. 30 Purdue L 43-34
Sep. 13 at Idaho W 45-33
Sep. 20 Murray State W 45-14
Sep. 27 at Virginia Tech L 35-17
Oct. 4 Toledo L 20-19 OT
Oct. 11 at Ball State W 42-38
Oct. 18 Bowling Green W 26-14
Oct. 25 Ohio W 42-21
Nov. 1 at Miami Univ. W 41-10
Nov. 15 Eastern Michigan W 51-3
Nov. 22 at Central Mich W 32-20
Nov. 28 Northern Illinois  L 31-21
Nov. 28 Northern Illinois 31, at Western Michigan 21
And You Care Because … Northern Illinois took the MAC West title with a great comeback through the snow. Down 21-7 in the second quarter, the Huskies scored 24 unanswered points with Drew Hare running for two, two-yard touchdowns and Akeem Daniels taking off for a 21-yard touchdown. Turnovers were the biggest problem for WMU both on offense and special teams, giving it up six times to ruin a great start with two Andrew Haldeman field goals, a 13-yard Corey Davis catch, and a two-yard Jarvion Franklin run. NIU started out the scoring with a 65-yard Aregeros Turner catch on the first play from scrimmage.
What Else? Northern Illinois QB Drew Hare completed 9-of-20 passes for 159 yards and a touchdown, and ran 11 times for 36 yards and two scores
- Time of possession: Western Michigan 40:27 – Northern Illinois 19:33
- Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin ran 29 times for 92 yards and a score
- Western Michgian QB Zach Terrell completed 23-of-33 passes for 256 yards and a touchdown with two picks
Game Rating: B

Nov. 22 Western Michigan 32, at Central Michigan 20
And You Care Because … Central Michigan got up early on two Cooper Rush touchdown passes, but Western Michigan roared back with two Zach Terrell touchdown passes and a two-yard Jarvion Franklin dash as part of a 25-3 scoring run. CMU pulled back within five late on a 37-yard Brian Eavey field goal, but WMU put it away on a seven-yard Corey Davis touchdown catch – his second scoring grab of the game – with just under six minutes to play.
What Else? Western Michigan WR Daniel Braverman caught five passes for 117 yards, and Corey Davis caught nine passes for 104 yards and two scores
- Central Michigan QB Cooper Rush completed 24-of-44 passes for 248 yards and two scores with three picks
- Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin ran 18 times for 77 yards and a touchdown
- Turnovers; Central Michigan 4 – Western Michigan 3
Game Rating: B

Nov. 15 at Western Michigan 51, Eastern Michigan 7
And You Care Because … Western Michigan started out the game with Darius Phillips returning the opening kickoff for a touchdown, and the fun didn’t stop there for the Broncos with Corey Davis catching a 54-yard touchdown pass and Jarvion Franklin taking a pass 54 yards for a score on the way to a 27-0 first quarter. WMU scored the first 51 points of the game, with Zach Terrell throwing four touchdown passes and running for another. Eastern Michigan finally got on the board with Bronson Hill taking a pass 76 yards for a score.
What Else? Western Michigan QB Zach Terrell completed 17-of-19 passes for 357 yards and four touchdowns, and ran six times for 41 yards and a score
- Eastern Michigan QB Reginald Bell Jr. completed 14-of-22 passes for 283 yards and a touchdown with two picks, and ran 19 times for a team-leading 33 yards
- Third down conversions: Western Michigan 10-of-14 – Eastern Michigan 5-of-13
- Western Michigan WR Corey Davis caught four passes for 134 yards and a score
Game Rating: D-

Nov. 1 Western Michigan 41, at Miami University 10
And You Care Because … It was the Jarvion Franklin show as the WMU freshman RB tore off scoring runs from 55, four and 23 yards out in the first half, but Miami would stay alive with a Dawan Scott 19-yard touchdown catch and a 52-yard Kaleb Patterson field goal. But that would be it as WMU cranked out 20 unanswered points with Franklin running for a five-yard touchdown and Andrew Haldeman hitting two field goals.
What Else? Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin ran 29 times for 182 yards and three touchdowns
- Miami QB Andrew Hendrix completed 7-of-19 passes for 96 yard and a touchdown with a pick
- Western Michigan QB Zach Terrell completed 18-of 23 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown, and ran six times for 61 yards and a touchdown.
- Western Michigan WR Corey Davis caught seven passes for 114 yards and a touchdown
Game Rating: D

Oct. 25 at Western Michigan 42, Ohio 21
And You Care Because … Jarvion Franklin ran for three touchdowns and Zach Terrell threw two touchdown passes as Western Michigan got up 28-7 and was never threatened after getting down 7-0. Ohio started out the scoring on a three-yard Daz’mond Patterson touchdown run and tried to stay alive in the fourth on a 66-yard Chase Cochran catch, but Terrell’s touchdown passes to Corey Davis from 72 and 56 yards out, and a Trevor Ishmael pick sic were too much to overcome.
What Else? Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin ran 35 times for 156 yards and three touchdowns
- Ohio QB Derrius Vick completed 18-of-31 passes for 246 yards and a score with a pick
- Western Michigan QB Zach Terrell completed 22-of-28 passes for 344 yards and two scores with two picks, and Corey Davis caught nine passes for 212 yards and two touchdowns
- Total yards: Western Michigan 530 – Ohio 372
Game Rating: C

Oct. 18 Western Michigan 26, at Bowling Green 14
And You Care Because … A supposed shootout turned into a shocking defensive fight as Western Michigan slowed down Bowling Green after getting down 7-0. WMU got two Andrew Haldeman field goals and a four-yard Corey Davis touchdown catch, and Darius Phillips gave the team the lead on a 63-yard touchdown catch in the third. Jarvion Franklin put it away for WMU with a 22-yard run in the fourth.
What Else? Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin ran 37 times for 149 yards and a score
- Bowling Green QB James Knapke completed 20-of-33 passes for 139 yards and a pick, and ran three times for 41 yards
- Time of possession: Western Michigan 39:26 – Bowling Green 20:34
- Western Michigan QB Zach Terrell completed 15-of-24 passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns
Game Rating: C

Oct. 11 Western Michigan 42, at Ball State 38
And You Care Because … Down ten late, Western Michigan rallied with a 54-yard touchdown run from Jarvion Franklin and a 12-yard scoring grab from Daniel Braverman for the lead. It was Franklin’s third touchdown run of the second half, but Ball State held the lead until the final eight minutes on Jack Miles’s fourth touchdown pass of the game. The Cardinals got two first half touchdown catches from Jordan Williams from 32 and 17 yards out, and Jahwan Edwards came up with a two-yard scoring run for a 28-7 lead, but WMU roared back, starting with a 75-yard Corey Davis touchdown catch late in the first half.
What Else? Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin ran 24 times for 161 yards and three touchdowns
- Ball State QB Jack Milas completed 26-of-42 passes for 326 yards and four touchdowns
- Western Michigan WR Corey Davis caught six passes for 154 yards and a touchdown, and Daniel Braverman caught ten passes for 96 yards and two scores
- Ball State WR Jordan Williams caught 11 passes for 179 yards and two scores
Game Rating: A-

Oct. 4 Toledo 20, at Western Michigan 19 OT
And You Care Because … Toledo forced overtime on a 37-yard Jeremiah Detmer field goal with no time left on the clock, and then came up with a 22-yard Alonzo Russell touchdown catch. Detmer nailed the extra point. Western Michigan answered with a 20-yard Darius Phillips touchdown catch, but Andrew Haldeman missed the extra point to seal the Toledo win. Haldeman hit two field goals and Jarvion Franklin ran for a two-yard score, while Toledo overcame three turnovers with two Detmer field goals and a two-yard Terry Swanson touchdown run.
What Else? Time of possession: Western Michigan 37:46 – Toledo 22:14
- WMU QB Zach Terrell completed 30-of-37 passes for 370 yards and a score
- Toledo RB Terry Swanson ran 19 times for 172 yards and a score
- WMU WR Corey Davis caught seven passes for 124 yards, and Darius Phillips caught ten passes for 121 yards and a touchdown
Game Rating: B+

Sept. 27 at Virginia Tech 35, Western Michigan 17
And You Care Because … Virginia Tech got off to a perfect start, taking a fumbled opening kickoff for a score and getting a safety on the ensuing drive when the snap on a punt flew into the end zone. The Tech offense stumbled a bit, but Michael Brewer came up with two touchdown passes including a 29-yarder to Bucky Hodges, and Shai McKenzie put the game out of reach on a four-yard touchdown run. Jarvion Franklin ran for two one-yard scores for Western Michigan.
What Else? Rushing yards: Virginia Tech 308 – Western Michigan 19
- Virginia Tech QB Michael Brewer struggled completing 14-of-32 passes for 178 yards and two scores with two picks
- Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin ran 15 times for 76 yard and two scores
- Virginia Tech RB Marshawn Williams ran 14 times for 119 yards, and Shai McKinzie ran 18 times for 87 yards and a score
Game Rating: C-

Sept. 20 at Western Michigan 45, Murray State 14
And You Care Because … Jarvion Franklin ran for three touchdowns scoring from seven, 22 and 13 yards out, and Daniel Braverman took off for a 65-yard score as WMU broke open a tight game with 21 unanswered points following a T-Ray Malone pick six of WMU QB Zach Terrell.
What Else? WMU QB Zach Terrell completed 20-of-29 passes for 228 yards and a score with a pick, and he ran five times for 48 yards and a touchdown
- Western Michigan RB Jarvion Franklin ran 30 times for 168 yards and three scores and caught three passes for 30 yards
- WMU outgained Murray State 605 yards to 305
- Time of possession: Western Michigan 39:23 – Murray State 20:37
Game Rating: D

Sept. 13 Western Michigan 45, at Idaho 33
And You Care Because … Western Michigan opened up a tight game with a 57-yard Daniel Braverman touchdown run and a 39-yard Jarvion Franklin scoring dash late in the first half, and Idaho couldn’t recover. Franklin ran for 211 yards and three scores on 33 carries for the Broncos, and Braverman caught five passes for 122 yards and two scores. Corey Davis was the only other WMU player to catch a pass, making five grabs for 119 yards and a touchdown. Idaho got 362 yards and three scores from QB Matt Linehan, but eight penalties and the WMU big plays were too much to overcome. The Broncos committed ten penalties.
Game Rating: C

Aug. 30 at Purdue 43, Western Michigan 34
And You Care Because … In a nip-and-tuck game, Purdue seemed to take control in the third quarter on an 11-yard Raheem Mostert touchdown run and an eight-yard touchdown catch from Gabe Holmes, but Western Michigan wouldn’t go away. Jarvion Franklin ran for three scores and Zach Terrell threw for two second half scores to make it close, but when Purdue had to, it went on a long march finished off by a 38-yard Akeem Hunt scoring run to put it away.
What Else? Danny Etling didn’t set the world on fire, completing just 19-of-38 passes for 181 yards and two scores, but he marched Purdue down the field when he absolutely had to. Fortunately, the running game saved the day with Raheem Mostert running for 146 yards and a score and Akeem Hunt rumbling for 78 yards and a touchdown.
- It was Frankie Williams who changed around the game with two big punt returns and an interception return for Purdue. He turned the momentum around just when it seemed like WMU kept being on the verge of taking over.
- The WMU defense might have struggled, but at least the offense produced with Jarvion Franklin coming up with a huge performance running 19 times for 163 yards and three scores. Daniel Braverman caught ten passes for 130 yards to take the pressure off of Corey Davis – now defenses have to worry about more weapons.
- The two defensive fronts have to come up with something different in a big hurry. Neither one did enough against the run to make either coaching staff happy. Both have to get into the backfield more.
Game Rating: B+

2014 Preview 

Was last year just the rough patch to set up for the big push going forward? It had better be.

P.J. Fleck turned 33 last year, and while he’s considered a top young coaching mind, last year he and his team simply appeared to be outmatched.

Almost always a rock-solid program in the MAC chase on a yearly basis, Western Michigan needed to make a move after an ugly 4-8 2012 campaign losing five of the last six games – it was time to shake things up.

In came Fleck, and while it was a risk, it was the right time to take one with a really, really young and inexperienced team returning. The idea was to let coach, program and players to all grow together, and hope the growing pains weren’t going to be that bad. But it was that bad.

The Broncos couldn’t seem to do anything right, averaging just 17 points a game and scoring more than 20 just four times. The running game was nowhere to be found, the defense couldn’t stop anyone’s ground game, there were too many turnovers, not enough takeaways, too many penalties, too many mistakes, no third down stops, bad punting, no passing game. Poor caddying.

But a lot of that was to be expected – to a point.

2013 was supposed to be a time of transition, but instead it was a complete and utter disaster with just one win – beating lowly UMass 31-30 – with losses to Nicholls State and Eastern Michigan along the way. The highlight of the year was not getting blown away by Michigan State in the opener, and then it all went downhill.

It’s not like there were a slew of close calls, either. The loss to EMU came in overtime, and there was a battle in the Central Michigan loss, but that was about it.

The defense has to work on the interior and loses several of the key tacklers in the front seven, and the offense has to come up with running back options, but the team can’t be any worse, and there’s a chance it could be a whole bunch better if Fleck and his staff start to find their groove. With the best recruiting class in the MAC this year, things are looking up. It just might take more time for everyone to mature.

What to watch for on offense: Can the Broncos run the ball? It’s not like WMU has been Wisconsin over the years when it came to the ground attack, but generating any sort of a push up front was a problem especially when the passing game wasn’t working. The Broncos failed to crack the 200-yard mark on the ground against any FBS team – and lost to Nicholls State despite rushing for a season-high 231 yards and three touchdowns – and they went an ugly eight game stretch with just three rushing scores. There wasn’t any consistency and there weren’t any big plays, and it killed the team’s explosiveness. Four starters are back up front, and fifth-year senior Dareyon Chance is a decent back, but the coaching staff might have to get creative at times to make anyone worry about the ground attack. And on the flip side ...

What to watch for on defense: Stop … the … run. After allowing 1,862 rushing yards in 2012, the Broncos gave up 3,000 in 2013. Even with veteran tackles to clog up the interior and active linebackers with two seniors in Johnnie Simon and Mike Jones on the outside, there wasn’t anything happening against anyone who tried to run the ball. The WMU run defense’s best day came against UMass, allowing just 112 yards and two scores, and it just so happened to be the lone win. Northern Illinois ran at will, Toledo did whatever it wanted, and team after team rolled against a run D that allowed 200 yards or more eight times and 30 scores on the season.

The team will be far better if … the defense can find anyone who can hit a quarterback. The Broncos came up with a sad seven sacks on the season led by Travonte Boles’ 1.5. Even worse, the D came up with four of those sacks in the first five games with just three in the final seven outings. This was a year after coming up with 25 sacks in a down 2012 considering the 28 the defense came up with in 2010 and 2011. The pass defense didn’t really suffer stat-wise, but that was because everyone spent so much time running the ball. When passing games wanted and needed a third down conversion, it got one.

The schedule: There are the paycheck games against Purdue – but that’s at home – and at Virginia Tech, but there’s a chance to come away with a win at Idaho with a week off to prepare, and Murray State has to be a win. The Broncos catch a bad break by getting defending MAC champ Bowling Green from the East, along with a good Ohio team, but it’s helped by facing Miami University at home. The two stars of the West – Toledo and Northern Illinois – are coming to Kalamazoo, and there’s a nice run late with two home games in the last three. Overall it’s a manageable schedule, but so was last year’s.

Best offensive player: Sophomore WR Corey Davis. In a lost year all the way around, there was one major bright spot and hope for the future in the 6-2 sophomore who earned the honor of being the MAC Freshman of the Year. The offense has to find more playmakers to build around, and it starts with Davis after a fantastic year as the team’s leading receiver. He’s the unquestioned No. 1 target, and there’s enough experience returning to the rest of the corps to take advantage.

Best defensive player: Senior S Justin Currie. It’s a problem when the starting strong safety is leading the team in tackles, but Currie did what he needed to do for a run defense that couldn’t keep anyone down in the front seven. The veteran didn’t receive all-star recognition last season, but he had a better year than he did in 2012 when he earned Second Team All-MAC recognition. The secondary should be the team’s biggest strength by far, and Currie its best player.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore DT Jamar Simpkins. The Broncos can’t and won’t be better unless the line is stronger. That means the pass rush has to start coming from the outside, and the interior has to be far, far better against the run. It starts on the nose where Travonte Boles is gone after making 60 tackles and five tackles for loss. Simpkins was the main backup last year and he brings most of the bulk up front at 277 pounds. With 21 tackles and decent quickness off the ball, it should be his middle now.

The season will be a success if … the Broncos have talent and they have a world of upside to be better in a big hurry. They also have a reasonable schedule with winnable games against Idaho, Murray State, Miami University and Eastern Michigan. If WMU can’t win those four, something’s wrong. They take those and come up with a win over an Ohio at home or Central Michigan on the road, and the year will be considered a huge step forward.

Key game: Nov. 22 at Central Michigan. It’s one thing to have problems coming up with big wins in the MAC, but it’s another for a directional Michigan school to lose to the other directional schools. Losing to Eastern Michigan last season was a problem, but this year the game is at home. Beating Central Michigan after coming close last year and winning 42-31 in 2012, especially late in the year, would be big.

2013 Fun Stats:
- Sacks: Opponents 22 for 154 yards – Western Michigan 7 for 39 yards
- Punts: Western Michigan 77 for 3,056 yards – Opponents 49 for 1,993 yards
- First Quarter Scoring: Opponents 95 – Western Michigan 19

-  2014 Western Michigan Preview - What You Need To Know & Top Players