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September 13, 2013

Staff Predictions: Northwestern

Western Michigan looks to bounce back this week following a hard-to-explain loss to Nicholls last Saturday. It'll be an uphill climb against Northwestern, who comes in ranked no. 17 nationally. BroncoBlitz.com staff takes a stab at the final outcome.

David James: As I've already said, I don't give WMU much of a chance to win this. That's not because I don't believe they can bounce back-- in fact, I think the Nicholls debacle was somewhat of an anomaly. But Northwestern is perhaps deserving of an even higher ranking right now, and they have strengths exactly where the Broncos are weak.

More than the win/loss possibilities, I'm interested in how WMU will respond when they inevitably take a punch or two. That will say a lot about their mental state at this point in time.

I do expect a better effort from the opening kick than we saw against Nicholls. If Van Tubbergen can keep his focus and avoid picks, it might be interesting into the third quarter. I just don't see it being close to enough against an explosive Wildcats attack.

Northwestern 48, Western Michigan 21

D.J. Duckett: This has been one of the toughest weeks for Bronco sports fans and I don't think it will get any easier for the team this week. Hitting the road to visit the home of a top 25 team is probably the last thing WMU needs right now, but what can you do? They are the next team on the schedule. I do not see this game being close, but I have been wrong before.

These are the types of games where you just hope to not get embarrassed. I will be looking to see how WMU responds after last week's shocking loss. If the team comes out and lays an egg, it will be tough to tell what the future will be for Bronco football. Honestly, I think the best thing that can come out of this game is that the Broncos are able to ride home with a full bill of health.

Northwestern 45, Western Michigan 14

Brian Persky: It's been a week to forget in Bronco nation as coaches, players, and fans all try to put the Nicholls game behind them and prepare for an explosive Northwestern offense. In what figures to be WMU's toughest test of the year (physically and mentally), I fully expect the Wildcats to come out firing on all cylinders and take an early 14-0 first quarter lead. It's how the Broncos respond, that I'll be keeping a close eye on.

I see three ways the Broncos could make this game interesting (and they might have to do all three to win): score first and silence the crowd, win the turnover battle in lopsided fashion, and convert all red-zone opportunities into touchdowns. Unfortunately, I don't see these all happening simultaneously in the same game against a formidable opponent like Northwestern. The Wildcats are a legitimate threat to win the Big Ten this year. The best the Broncos can hope for in this game is keeping everyone healthy.

Northwestern 52, Western Michigan 17

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