Broncos Sports First Blog

  • Heartbreaking Loss, Broncos Can't Pull Upset, Fall to Illinois 23-20

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    Champaign, IL (WKZO) – Despite tying his career high in receptions with 14 and 143 yards from Jordan White, the Broncos could not pull off the upset over #24 Illinois Saturday Afternoon.

    The Broncos had a chance at the end of the game to at least set up a game tying field goal, but a sack of Alex Carder ended those chances as the Broncos (2-2, 1-0 MAC) fell to the Illini 23-20.

    Alex Carder finished with 306 yards passing with 2 touchdowns on 30 of 48 passing.

    The Broncos held the lead 13-10 at halftime after Carder and Chleb Ravenell connected on a 35 yard touchdown pass, Ravenell’s second in as many games.

    With the score tied at 20, under 9 minutes left, Illinois kicker Derek Dimke put the Illini up for good with a 21 yard field goal.

    Game Notes: For the first time all season, the Broncos defense allowed a point in the first quarter…Tevin Drake led the Broncos rushing attack with 18 yards…John Potter missed 2 field goals but made 2 as well and extended his current record of 85 consecutive PATs…Johnnie Simon, Mitch Zajac and Drew Nowak all had 11 tackles to lead the Broncos defense… Illinois running attack put up 296 yards vs. the Broncos defense, while the Broncos only accumulated 35 yards on the ground…Next up for the Broncos will the UConn Huskies, next Saturday. Kick-off is set for 2:30pm with coverage starting at 1 on WKZO 96.5FM.

  • Ten Keys To The Game: Illinois Week

    Posted by Zeke

    KALAMAZOO,MI(WKZO)-- The Broncos travel to Champaign, Illinois this Saturday to take on the Fighting Illini at 3:30pm. The last time the 2 teams met was in 2008 at Ford Field, as the Broncos came away victorious 23-17. The Broncos look to upset Illinois, as the currently rank 24th in the nation with a record of 3-0.

    1. KEEP THE MOMENTUM GOING:  The Broncos are riding high after last week’s victory over rival Central Michigan. And for there to be any chance of an upset, this must continue.  Coach Cubit and his players feel like they have something special brewing this season and a win over Illinois would show the rest of the nation that the Broncos are for real. The next 4 games will be the toughest stretch of games in 2011 for the Broncos and upsetting Illinois will put them on pace for a bowl berth and most importantly a MAC Championship.

    2. BE PHYSICAL IN THE TRENCHES: The Illini are one of the most physical and athletic teams in the country and showed this in last week’s 17-10 victory over Arizona State. On paper the Broncos are overmatched on the offensive and defensive lines and as we all know that in the trenches is where the game is often won or lost.  A lot will be asked of the offensive line, especially the 3 interior positions as they are still an area of concern. They did an excellent job of containing Mike Martin of Michigan in Week 1 and a repeat performance will be needed again.

    3. ALEX CARDER NEEDS TO SPREAD THE WEALTH: Jordan White has been unstoppable at times this year and the secret is out that he’s good. He currently ranks 3rd in the nation in receptions and 6th in receiving yards. I expect the Illini to try to double team White, which will open up other receivers. Robert Arnheim, Chleb Ravenell, Ansel Ponder and Eric Monette a have done a good job as a complement to White but no one has really taking over that number 2 receiver spot. Arnheim has been the most productive behind White but more is needed. With starting Tight End Clark Mussman status for Saturday still in the air due to an injury, a big day will be needed from the wide receiving core.

    4. FORCE NATHAN SCHEELHAASE TO REMAIN THE POCKET:  Scheelhaase is one of the most up and coming QBs in the nation has improved leaps and bounds during the Illini’s first 3 games. Everyone knew he could make plays with his feet but he has shown that he can also be a pretty good passer as well. He is completing passes at a rate of 71%, has thrown only 1 interception and is ranked 6th in the nation at passing efficiency. When the Broncos bring pressure on Scheelhaase, they must make tackles and not allow him to break loose.

    5. CONTINUE TO BE EFFECTIVE IN THE REDZONE: The Broncos offensive has been incredible inside the 20 scoring at a rate of 93% (13-14), including a perfect 6 for 6 against CMU. The Illini defense is going to be tough to score against, so it is essential for the Broncos to put points on the board whenever the opportunity arises.

    6. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OPPORTUNITIES: The last time WMU played a Big Ten opponent, Michigan, the storyline after the game was 'missed opportunities.' If the Broncos get a chance to go up on Illinois like they had the chance to vs. Michigan, they need to take advantage of it in every possible way. They have to come out focused and crisp and they can give Illinois a run for their money.

    7. STOP THE RUN: Last time the Broncos faced Illinois, they stuffed the running game the Illini had. So much so that the leading rusher for Illinois was their quarterback, Juice Williams and he only had 68 yards on 12 carries. They must duplicate that defensively this time around in order to be successful.

    8. NO HANGOVER FROM WIN OVER CMU: Lou Holtz once said "If what you did yesterday seems big, you havent done anything today." Thats the aaproach the Broncos need to have vs Illinois. Beating your rival for the first time since 2005 is great. It was nice to get the monkey off of everyone's back, especially Coach Cubit's but that was last week. WMU has to come out vs Illinois with the same intensity, determination and confidence that they've shown versus every other opponent this year.

    9. GET OFF THE FIELD: In 2008, the Broncos held Illinois to a staggering 1-13 on third down conversions. They have done a good job this year, only allowing opponents to convert 34% of their third downs (11-32). With the offense converting on over 50% of their third downs, the defense needs to keep doing what they're doing and get the ball back to the explosive offense to put points on the board.

    10: USE SPECIAL TEAMS TO SET UP THE OFFENSE: Western Michigan wide receiver Jordan White ranks first in the conference and in the nation in average yards per punt return, with 33 yards. Kickoff returnman Dervon Wallace ranks second in the conference and fifth in the nation in average kickoff return yards with roughly 35 per KO return. If the special teams can continue to give the offense good starting field position, it helps them win the field position battle and takes some of the heat off of the offense.

    COLIN'S PREDICTION: Before the season started I had the Broncos winning this one, but the way the Illini have played this season has made me change my mind. However, this could be a trap game for the Illini after coming off a huge victory over ASU and before starting Big 10 play next week against Northwestern. Western keeps it close but in the end they won’t be able to handle Illinois physical play.    ILLINOIS 34 WESTERN MICHIGAN 24      

    ZEKE'S PREDICTION: This game could go either way. I think WMU has the talent to beat Illinois and playing in another Big Ten venue doesnt sway my opinion towards Illinois as much as it previously did. With that said, the Illini are ranked for a reason. I think we can win it but I dont think we will. Im a little on the fence about it. I think Illinois will win but would not be surprised at all if WMU pulled off the upset.    ILLINOIS 28 WESTERN MICHIGAN 24

  • Broncos Hockey Expected To Join National Collegiate Hockey Conference

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – According to a report from the Kalamazoo Gazette, Western Michigan Hockey is expected to announce on Thursday they will be joining the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

    The Broncos had received an invitation to join the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, but will decline and along with St. Cloud State will join the NCHA.

    The addition of WMU and St. Cloud State will up the total number of schools in the NCHA to 8, joining founding members Colorado College, University of Denver, Miami University (OH), Minnesota-Duluth, Nebraska-Omaha, and University of North Dakota.

    The switch to a new conference will the second major change for the Broncos Hockey Team in just over 2 months, as Andy Murray will take over as head coach.  Previous head coach Jeff Blashill resigned in July to take a position with the Detroit Red Wings.

    An official announcement will be made Thursday at 10am. WKZO will have more tomorrow after the press conference.  

  • VIDEO: WMU Kicker John Potter, "Win Over Central Was Awesome"

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) -- For the second time this season and the third time in his career, Broncos Kicker John Potter was named the MAC Special Teams Player Of The Week. After Monday's practice, Potter spoke with Broncos Sports First about the Central game, upcoming road tests at Illinois and UConn, and what we can expect from him and the Broncos as the season continues.

  • White and Potter Win MAC Players Of The Week Award

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – If beating Central for the first time in 5 years wasn’t enough, today Jordan White and John Potter each were named MAC Players of the Week for offense and special teams, respectively.

    White recorded 13 receptions, 1 away from his career high, 177 yards plus 2 touchdowns.  His second double digit reception day in 2011 also moved him into 4th all-time on the Broncos career list for receivers, passing former teammate Juan Nunez. White now has 195 career receptions, 40 behind 3rd place Steve Neal.

    John Potter scored 14 points with 5 extra points and 3 fields as he was awarded the POTW award for the 2nd time this year and 3rd time in his career. Potter also moved himself into 2nd place for points scored by a kicker and 4th overall.  His 5 for 5 at extra points extended his record for consecutive PATs made to 83.

  • Carder To White Becoming An Unstoppable Combination

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMZOO, MI (WKZO) –  It’s not quite Montana to Rice but it sure is getting close.

    Once again, the tandem of Alex Carder and Jordan White has made opposing defenses scratching their heads, wondering what they need to do to stop the Broncos top 2 offensive weapons.  This week against Central, Carder finished with 355 yards and 3 touchdowns, 177 of those yards to White, including 2 of the touchdowns.

    The numbers are impressive and it seems so easy for the two.

    “When you have a great scheme and a great gameplay and you stick to it, everything correlates”, White said. “Alex made his reads and other guys making plays, everyone brought something to the table.”

    While White believes the success comes from the other players, Carder thanks the coaching staff for the twos accomplishments.

    “We had a great game plan”, Carder said. “It was all based on schemes, not only do we have to preform but a lot of it is coaching. I think we owe a lot of it our coaches. We were the most prepared we’ve been.”

    “They’re not bad”, Head Coach Bill Cubit said of the two.

    Cubit was joking when he said that but what the two are doing on the field is no joke.

    While passing and receiving are the 2 biggest strengths we saw Saturday that the 2 can help the team in other areas of the game.

    Carder has shown that not only is he a solid passer but he can move the ball with his feet as well. Carder had 54 yards rushing (taking away yards lost from sacks and fumbles) and a 2 yard touchdown run in the 3rd quarter after 3 straight quarterback keepers inside the 10 yard line, putting the Broncos up 31-7

    White was also instrumental in setting up great field position for the Broncos, with a 64 yard punt return that set the Broncos up inside in the Chips 5 yards line during the 2nd quarter.

    But for the Broncos to have a chance to win the MAC, these 2 must continue to put up the type of numbers we saw against Central.

    The next 2 tests for the Broncos will be tough ones, at Illinois and at UConn, but the players are up for the challenge and know what they have to do.

    When asked about the upcoming games at Illinois and UConn, White had one simple answer, “Watch out.”

    And they better watch or once again the Broncos offense will leave teams scratching their heads wondering how to stop one of those most dynamic passing duos in college football.