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Broncos Sports First Blog

  • Western Michigan Football Top 10 Best Moments 2011

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    The 2011 Western Michigan football season made us all feel like we were on a roller coaster ride. Expectations were much higher in Kalamazoo for this team, as the Broncos finished 7-5 and 3rd in the MAC West, right where many expects had them projected pre-season.  We saw some great accomplishment from the team and individuals, while other moments left us shaking our heads. This team could even be argued as the best team in school history with a win over Purdue in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. Regardless of the outcome, the one thing this Bronco team did do was keep us entertainment. Here’s a look back at the top 10 best moments for the 2011 Western Michigan Football Team.

    Top 10 Best Moments

    10. Opening drive at Michigan: After watching this team practice for 4 weeks during camp, we were all excited to see what this team could do against Michigan. What we saw on the opening drive of the game was one of the best put together drives we would see all season. The Broncos moved methodically down the field compiling a 15 play, 71 yard drive, and taking over 7 minutes off the clock. Alex Carder went 8 for 8, with 4 passes going to Jordan White, and Antoin Scriven capped off the drive with a 1 yard TD.

    9. John Potter breaks MAC PAT record: With 9 PAT’s against Toledo, John Potter became the MACs all-time leader in consecutive PATs made with 114. Potter has since extended that streak to 128. The Third Team All MAC pick also holds the Bronco record for most tackles by a kicker with 35 and led the MAC in scoring by a kicker this year.

    8. Homecoming: Offensively, homecoming against Bowling Green was the most well rounded game of the season. This would be the only time all season the Broncos would have a 100 yard rusher as Tevin Drake finished with 112. Alex Carder had 212 yards passing and 3 touchdowns and nearly gained 100 yards on the ground himself, finishing just 5 yards short of the century mark.  This win put the Broncos at 4-2 and had the team feeling as if they were unstoppable.

    7. Chleb Ravenell scoring the game winning touchdown against UConn: Ravenell was one of 3 Broncos to finish with over 100’s receiving. But it was Ravenell’s 2nd TD of the game that was the most important. Ravenell scored on a 41 yard pass from Carder with 1:35 left to put the Broncos up 38-31 over the defending Big East Champs.  Carder finished with what was at the time a school record 481 yards and 5 touchdowns.

    6. Tyler VanTubbergen against Akron: If Alex Carder would have thrown for 252 yards, 6 touchdowns on 19-21 passing, no one would have been too surprised. But the fact it was his back up Tyler Vantubbergen which made people disbelieve the stats. VanTubbergen looked like a seasoned vet during his first career start. He also had a rushing touchdown and 60 yards rushing. Akron’s defense was one of the worst in the country this year, so the question remains, what type of numbers would Carder have put up had he been healthy?

    5. Carder and White at Toledo: Anytime you score 63 points you’d think you would have won. Against Toledo, Western did just that but allowed 66 to the Rockets. However, Alex Carder threw for school records 548 yards and 7 touchdowns, while Jordan White tied the record with 16 receptions and 3 touchdowns.  

    4. Drew Nowak wins MAC Defensive Player of the Year: For the first time since Ameer Ismail in 2006, a Western Michigan player took home the MAC Defensive POTY. Nowak finished 3rd on the team in tackles and led the MAC in sacks with 8.5.

    3a. Jordan White becomes the all-time leader in receptions in Bronco history: White’s 9threception against during the Broncos final drive against Ball State moved him into first place as the all-time receptions leader in school history passing Jamarko Simmons. The Broncos ended up defeating Ball State 45-35, moving them 1 game away from becoming bowl eligible.

    3b. Jordan White named first consensus All-American in Bronco history: White was named an AP (3rd team), Walter Camp (2nd Team), and AFCA All-American making him the first player from Western Michigan to make all 3 lists.   

    2. Broncos invited to Little Caesar’s Bowl: It’s not the MAC championship but it might as well be. Prior to the team banquet it was announced that the Broncos would take on Purdue in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. This was the best case scenario for Western after failing to make it to the MAC Championship game. Many believe that had Western not been invited to the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl, that the Broncos would have passed on a bowl game altogether

    1. Beating Central for the first time in 5 years: Enough said!

    Future 1: If the Broncos get their firs even bowl win after defeating Purdue that would become the top moment of the year.

  • Broncos Win Third Straight, Top Winthrop 60-55

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) --  Mike Douglas scored 15 points and Nate Hutchenson added 10 as the Western Michigan basketball team has now won 3 in a row and 4 out of their last 5 as they defeat Winthrop 60-55.

    The Broncos survived a late charge by the Eagles as their 12 people lead with less than 6 minutes to go was cut to 3 with under a minute left in the ballgame. But late free throws by Austin Richie secured the victory as Western improves to 4-7 on the young season.

    The game was very defensive compared to some of the early games on the Broncos season as each team shot the ball under 40% during the game.

    Winthrop started strong with 5 quick points before Western was able to get on the board. However, Western took a 25-23 lead into the half and outscored the Eagles 35-32 in the second half.

    Matt Stainbrook bounced back after being benched during the 2nd half against Duquesne due to a lack of effort.  The 6’9 sophomore finished with a career high 14 rebounds and 9 points. But it was his last minute brain fart that almost cost the Broncos as he was hit with a technical foul with 21 seconds left to give the Eagles 4 free throw attempts.  Andre Jones made 3 of the 4 free throws but Winthrop wasn’t able to get over that final hump.

    Brandon Pokely making his first career start left the game in the first half with a foot injury. He will have x-rays done Tuesday night and be evaluated Wednesday. Richie and Hayden Heoerdemann filled in for Pokely and scored 7 and 6 points respectively.

    GAME NOTES: A MRI on David Brown's knee showed that he tore his ACL and will miss the remainder of the season. Brown had been averaging 4 points and 3 rebounds...The Broncos shot 86.4% (19-22) from the free throw line…Mike Douglas led the team in assists with 3…Western outrebounded the Eagles 41-29…The Eagles finished 7 for 22 from 3 point land and the Broncos shot 5 for 22 from behind the arc…Shayne Whittington had 7 points and 5 rebounds off the bench…The Broncos return to action on Friday as they take on Oakland.

  • Matt Stainbrook Might Be Broncos Most Improved Player, But His Attitude Needs The Most Improvement

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WZKO) – Mat Stainbrook looks like a completely different player on the court this year. He has the highest increased scoring from last year and most importantly he’s much better conditioning than last year. But if he can’t control his emotions on the court, he’s going to lose playing time.

    With 21 seconds to go against Winthrop and with the Broncos holding onto a 5 point lead, Stainbrook was hit with a technical foul giving the Eagles a chance to cut the lead to 1. Stainbrook thought he did nothing wrong but the refs saw it otherwise.

    “I gave him (the ref) an arm wave and he didn’t like that”, Stainbrook said. “I disagreed with the call; it was spur of the moment. Let my emotions get the best of me. We’ve worked on it but still not where I need to be. But we’re going to get there.”

    If he doesn’t get to where he needs to be, he’s going to be on the bench.

    “I’ve been dealing with it for a year and a third, and he’s going to get or it he’s going to sit” Coach Hawkins said of Stainbrook. “I’m tired of watching it and I’ve had. He’s going to continue to play, we need him to play, but it’ll be a shame if he doesn’t get out there because it will hurt the team.”

    Fortunately this time it didn’t hurt the team, but without improvement in his attitude it could end up hurting the team down the stretch.

  • Nate Hutchenson Wins 2 Awards After Scoring 24 Points Against Duquesne

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – After scoring a career high 24 points against Duquesne on Saturday, Nate Hutchenson has been awarded the MAC West Division Player of the Week, as well as the College Sports Madness MAC Player of the Week. This is the first time in Hutcheson’s career that he received either award.

    Hutchenson scored his 24 points on 7 of 9 shooting from the field and made all 8 of his free throw attempts. He also added 6 rebounds.

    Matt Stainbrook was also named College Sports Madness MAC Player of the Week during the first week of the season.

    The Broncos return to action on Tuesday as the host Winthrop at 7pm at University Arena.

  • Broncos Stampede Duquesne 85-71

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – After opening the season with 6 straight losses, the Western Michigan men’s basketball has now won back to back games and 3 of their last 4 as they defeated the Duquesne Dukes 85-71 Saturday afternoon.

    “We’re really proud of the guys, heck of an effort,” Coach Steve Hawkins said after the game. “They played their tails off and took care of the basketball and got a much needed win against a really good team.”

    Nate Hutchenson and Brandon Pokely each recorded career high in points with 24 and 16 respectively.

    With Flenard Whitfield still out with an ankle injury Hutchenson once again started and took advantage of the opportunity connected on 7 of 9 shots and made all 8 free throw attempts. He also had 6 rebounds.

    Pokely saw extended action after David Brown went down with a knee injury in the first half. Brown didn’t return to the game and will have an MRI done on his knee either Sunday or Monday.

    “My teammates did a great job of finding me when I was open,” Pokley said. “When you see a teammate go down, you don’t have time to get to think whoa I hope he’s not that hurt because you’re in the middle of the game and I’ve got to get my thoughts together and know that my teams going to count on me.”

    Duquesne started the game up 6-0, and once again it looked a slow start could doom the Broncos. But a 21-5 run put Western up by 10 and from there on it was complete domination from Coach Hawkins team as they showed the energy and effort that made them the preseason favorites to win the MAC West.

    “Everyone bought in and did a great job and played Bronco Basketball,” added Hawkins. “We played hard and shared the basketball. We’re showing determination and some grit. We’re not afraid to get floor burns. It also helps playing at home.”

    At the half Western led by 15, 44-29 and during the second half they increased the lead to as much as 20.

    Demetrius Ward added 15 for the Broncos and Mike Douglas had 13 as the Broncos improve to 3-7 on the young season.

    GAME NOTES: Western outshot the Dukes 54% to 44.6%...The Broncos also outrebounded Duquesne 37 to 23 with Douglas leading the way with 7…Matt Stainbrook saw no action in the 2nd half as Shayne Whittington and Muhammed Conteh saw the majority of the time up front…Duquesne was only 6-24 from 3 point land…Mike Talley lead the Dukes in scoring with 16…Western improves to 3-0 at home with the win…The Broncos return to action on Tuesday against Winthrop. Game starts at 7pm at University Arena.

  • VIDEO: Western Michigan Wide Receiver Jordan White "Buy Your Tickets Now, Its Going To Be A Hot Game

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) -- The Western Michigan football team is currently preparing for the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl on December 27th at Ford Field. Before the team heads to Detroit to take on Purdue, Broncos wide receiver Jordan White spoke with Broncos Sports First about becoming the first consensus All-American in school history, tells us about his new cleats, what to expect at the Little Caesar's Pizza Bowl, and has a message for every Broncos fan who hasn't purchased tickets to the bowl game yet.

  • Dane Walters Named CCHA Offensive Player Of The Week

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, Mi (WKZO) – After recording his first career hat trick this past weekend against Bowling Green, Dane Walters has been named CCHA Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.

    Walters also added an assist for his first career four point game and tallied a helper in Friday's 3-3 tie for a five point weekend.

    The junior alternate captain has been on a tear for the Broncos over the past three games, netting five goals and two assists. Walters has moved into a tie with linemate Chase Balisy for the team lead in scoring with 17 points. His nine goals also pace the Broncos through 18 games this season.

    This is the first career CCHA award for Walters and the fourth for a Bronco this season.

  • Former Bronco Tight End Branden Ledbetter Signs With Spokane Shock

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    SPOKANE, WASH (WKZO) – Former Western Michigan tight end Branden Ledbetter has become the 3rd Bronco to sign a professional contract in the last 2 months as he has just signed a contract with Arena Football League’s Spokane Shock. Ledbetter will play wide receiver when the season starts in March.

    “With getting my degree and finally getting married, I can pursue my football career with no other distractions,” Ledbetter said. "My preparations for the 2012 AFL season are and have been mainly focused on speed this time. Before, I was too worried about bulk and by doing that hindered what I did best, running routes and catching the ball. The goal is to have a great season in Spokane and hopefully get an opportunity to sign with an NFL team as a tight end in the summer of 2012. It’s going to be a great year."

    Ledbetter, 6-5 240, most recently played with the California Redwoods of the UFL. After his career ended as a Bronco, Ledbetter attended training camp with the Green Bay Packers as an undrafted free agent.

    While at Western Michigan, Ledbetter was three-time All Mid-American Conference selection from 2006-2008 and was also a two-time captain.  As a Bronco Ledbetter finished his career with 131 receptions for 1,513 yards and 20 touchdowns. His 20 touchdowns are a program record among tight ends.

    Former Broncos Juan Nunez and Jamarko Simmons each signed professional in October. Nunez with the San Jose SaberCats of the AFL and Simmons signed with the New York Jets as a member of their practice squad.

  • Broncos Hockey Back In Top 10; Tennyson Named Defenseman Of The Week

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – After a weekend sweep of Ferris State, the Western Michigan Hockey Team is back in the top 10. The Broncos are now ranked 8th in both the USCHO.com and USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine polls released on Monday.

    The Broncos beat Ferris State 4-2 on Friday at Ferris and then 3-0 at home on Saturday. Western has now won 3 games in a row after going winless in their previous 4.

    Also announced on Monday that for the second time this season, junior Matt Tennyson has been named CCHA Defenseman of the Week

    Tennyson scored two goals, including the game-winner, in Friday’s 4-2 win over Ferris. In Saturday’s game he helped keep the Bulldogs off the board and adding an assist on WMU’s third goal. Tennyson helped the defensive core and penalty kill unit go a perfect 4-for-4 on the night and 7-for-7 on the weekend.

    The former Cedar Rapids Roughrider has nine points on the season and is tied for the team lead in with five goals, which also ranks him second in the CCHA and fourth in the nation in goals scored by defensemen.

    Western Michigan battles Bowling Green in a home-and-home series on Friday and Saturday. Friday's game is at Bowling Green at 7 p.m. and the Falcons head to Lawson Ice Arena on Saturday night.

  • Drew Nowak Named MAC Defensive Player Of The Year; 8 Broncos Named All-MAC

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) -- After tying for the most sacks in the MAC with 8.5 and ranking 2nd in tackles for loss with 20, Broncos senior defensive tackle Drew Nowak has been named the MAC Defensive Player of the Year. Nowak also recorded 83 tackles, placing him 3rd on the Broncos for tackles.

    The last Bronco to be named defensive player of the year was Ameer Ismail in 2006. Nowak joins Ismail, Jason Babin (2002, 2003), Sean Mulhearn (1990), Mark Garalczyk (1986) and John Offerdahl (1985) as the only Broncos to win the defensive player of the year award.

    In addition to winning Defensive Player Of The Year, Nowak was also named to the first team All-MAC, joining wide receiver Jordan White as the only two Broncos named to the All-MAC first team.

    White has set numerous Bronco records this season and is currently leading the nation in receptions and receiving yards (127 & 1646) and ranks 2nd in touchdowns with 16.

    Despite leading the conference in passing yards and throwing for over 400 yards in a game 4 times, Broncos quarter Alex Carder was named 2nd team All-MAC behind MAC Offensive Player of the Year, Northern Illinois quarterback Chandler Harnish.

    Sophomore rover Johnnie Simon was named 2nd Team All-MAC on defense, after recording over 100 tackles in his first full season as a starter.

    4 Broncos were named to the All-Mac 3rd team; junior offensive tackle Dann O’Neil, senior wide receiver Chleb Ravenell, senior kicker John Potter, and junior defensive end Freddie Bishop.

  • Broncos Get First Win Of The Season Against Hope 80-58

    Posted by Colin Windecker

     KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) –It was clear from the opening tip that Division 3 Hope College was going to struggle against the Western Michigan basketball team due to their lack of size. In the end the lack of size and athletic ability did come into play as the Broncos rolled the Dutchman 80-58, for their first win of the season Wednesday night at University Arena.

    After dropping their first 6 games of the season by an average of almost 16 points, and now facing a division 3 school, there was a chance for a letdown game from the Broncos.

    “I was worried about this game,” Coach Steve Hawkins said. “I just didn’t know what our players had in the tank, but I was very pleased.”

    Hawkins had to be pleased with Matt Stainbrook as he scored the Broncos first 8 points and finished with 19 and Flendard Whitfield added a team high 22 points for the Broncos. Whitfield entered the game needing only 12 points to become the 35th Bronco to score 1000 points in his career and topped the 1000 point mark with 3:19 left in the first half.

    “That’s a lot of points,” Whitfield said after the game. “I couldn’t have done it without all my teammates in the past and my teammates now. It comes from a lot of hard work.”

    The Flying Dutchmen scored the opening basket, but the Broncos went on a 15-2 run to put themselves up by double figures after 5 minutes of play and never looked back. During the first half the Broncos led by as much as 21, before Hope closed the gap to 16 at halftime, 41-25.

    The 2nd half saw much of the same domination the Broncos showed in the 1st half and as they held a 24 point lead with 9:15 left in the game and outscored Hope 39-33 in the final 20 minutes.

    Freshman guard Austin Richie made his first career start in place of the injured Mike Douglas, and finished with 13 points in 27 minutes, and made 3 of his 5 shots from behind the arc.

    “It was a lot of fun,” Richie said of getting his first career start. “It’s a great group of guys to play with. Stinks not being able to play with Mikey but I always have fun playing ball.”

    David Brown also made his first career start for Western and finished with 9 points and 5 rebounds in 19 minutes of action.

    The Broncos dominated the rebounding battle, finishing with 55 rebounds, 27 of them offensive. Whitfield and Stainbrook had 11 and 8 boards respectively.

    Billy Seiler scored 14 points to lead Hope.

    GAME NOTES: Demetrius Ward left the game early in the first half after busting his lip on a hard screen from Hope center Davie Krombeen. Ward returned to the game and finished with 4 points and 6 assists…WMU finished the game shooting 44% from the field and 33% from 3 point land…The Broncos bench outscored Hope’s bench 13-6…13 different Broncos saw action during the game…The Broncos return to the court on December 8th as they travel to the Motor City to take on the Detroit Mercy Titans.

  • Broncos Hockey Remains 12th In The Nation, Add 7 Players For 2012-2013

    Posted by Colin Windecker

    KALAMAZOO, MI (WKZO) – Despite upsetting #2 Notre Dame last Tuesday in a shootout win 3-2, the Broncos are still ranked 12th in the nation in the USCHO.com Poll. They did however move up one spot to 12th in the USA Today/USA Hockey Magazine Poll. The Broncos had gone winless in their previous 4 games before beating the Irish.

    After an off week, the Broncos return to the ice this weekend for a home and home against 6th ranked Ferris State. WMU will travel to Ferris on Friday and return to Lawson Arena on Saturday. Both games will start at 7pm.

    It was also announced on Tuesday that The Western Michigan hockey program has signed seven student-athletes to National Letters of Intent for the Fall 2011 recruiting class.

    Chris Dienes (Traverse City, Mich./Cedar Rapids Rough Riders, USHL), Sheldon Dries (Macomb Township, Mich./Green Bay Gamblers, USHL), Aaron Hadley (Castlegar, British Columbia/Vernon Vipers, BCHL), Nolan LaPorte (Moneka, Ill./Green Bay Gamblers, USHL), Mike McKee (Newmarket, Ontario/Lincoln Stars, USHL), Kenney Morrison (Loydminster, Alberta/Omaha Lancers, USHL), and Kyle Novak (O’Fallon, Mo./Green Bay Gamblers) have all pledged their futures to Western Michigan. The class features four forwards and three defensemen. Six of the seven signees play junior hockey in the United States Hockey League, while Hadley comes to the Broncos from the British Columbia Hockey League.