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October 6, 2012

Halftime analysis: WMU jumps all over UMass early

Western Michigan has used a short passing game consisting mostly of screens and a bit of trickery to score the first 28 points of the game and lead UMass 28-7 at half.

Offensively, the Broncos were near-perfect until a late interception by Tyler Van Tubbergen trying to hit an open Flenard Whitfield down the seam. Van Tubbergen sits at 11-of-14 for 160 yards and three touchdowns along with the pick.

The running backs for the Broncos have played a large role both on the ground and in the passing game, as Dareyon Chance, Brian Fields and Antoin Scriven have combined for 83 receiving yards, 70 rushing and two total touchdowns. Josh Schaffer added a 66 yard run on a double reverse to set up a two yard plunge by Scriven to go up 28-0 in the second quarter. The game also featured a surprise onside kick recovered by Jarell McKinney at the WMU 46 yard line to set up another scoring drive.

WMU looked poised to head into half with a shutout in tact, but following Van Tubbergen's interception the Minutemen drove 34 yards on 9 plays capped by a 1 yard touchdown run by Michael Cox around right end with four seconds on the clock.

Western Michigan will receive to start the second half. It's likely that we'll see more balance, probably without the trick plays sprinkled in. Until UMass proves able to stop the short passing game and between-the-tackles running, the Broncos are likely to continue feeding the backs using both. A score on the opening drive likely puts this one away.

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