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November 6, 2012
Late in the third quarter of Saturday's Western Michigan vs. Central Michigan football game in Mount Pleasant, CMU quarterback Ryan Radcliff dropped back and found a wide open Titus Davis streaking down the right side. 58 yards later, the Chippewas held a 23-14 lead and all the momentum.
For the Broncos, it was gut check time for not only the game, but the entire season.
It might not seem fair to have expected WMU to win a game in a place they've been 1-16-1 since 1973, but that's what happens in a season filled with disappointments. The fan base needed something to hang their hats on from 2012, and this was really the last chance.
What happened over the next fifteen minutes was a response the fans could get used to.
"Collectively everybody came together and just believed. I've never seen so much determination in this team," senior wide receiver Eric Monette recalled. "We all just kind of looked in each others' eyes and knew it was time."
WMU exploded for 28 points over the final frame, including two beautiful touchdown throws to Justin Collins, multiple spectacular catches by Monette, and a dagger of a 42 yard scoring scamper by Dareyon Chance. At the end of the whirlwind, the Broncos stood on top by a 42-31 margin.
"On the sidelines, the resiliency was something to see, especially when you haven't had a lot of success in the last three games," head coach Bill Cubit commented following the win.
The Broncos were in understandably high spirits immediately following the game, singing the fight song at the top of their lungs in the locker room and all smiles in post-game interviews.
By Monday's practice, though, it was all business again as the team set their collective eyes on getting to 6-6 and a possible bowl berth.
"The whole season you fight for either a conference championship or being able to go to a bowl game," senior defensive end and captain Freddie Bishop offered. "That's where you really showcase your team and your talents, so that's we're fighting for right now."
Monette, another senior leader for WMU, echoed these sentiments.
"It's really important. This is my last season, and I want to play in as many games as I can," he said. "It's the same with all these guys."
It won't be easy for WMU to reach the bowl game they desire, as standing in their way are a couple of teams presenting their own unique challenges.
This Saturday, the Broncos travel to Buffalo to take on a Bulls team that's really hitting their stride. Although they stand at 1-4 in the MAC, the Bulls have faced the top four teams in the conference and picked up their first win last week over a solid Miami squad.
"On defense, I think they're really good," Cubit said at Tuesday's press luncheon. "Their front seven may be one of the better ones we've seen all year. They've got an All-American in [Khalil] Mack, their linebackers are outstanding. We've really got our work cut out for us."
If they're able to get past Buffalo, standing in their way of a sixth win would be Eastern Michigan on Senior Day. While EMU has struggled to a 1-8 record in 2012, Bronco fans will never rest easily against the Eagles as they have jumped up to surprise WMU on more than one past occasion.
Regardless of what happens over the next couple of weeks, one thing is certain: last week's events in Mount Pleasant made the rest of this year a lot more interesting.
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