Western Michigan heads to Ypsilanti today for the first game in the Michigan MAC series. That trophy would be one way to salvage some positives from a tough season, and it all starts with this tilt at 1-8 Eastern Michigan. BroncoBlitz.com staff predicts the outcome.
David James: History does tell us to largely throw out the stats and records when it comes to this rivalry, particularly when the better team is playing on the road. In this case, as much as it might hurt to hear it for WMU fans, the Chippewas are the better team.
Again, that's far from a guarantee for victory in this game, and there are a couple of exploitable areas on this CMU team. In fact, their entire defense is ripe to be exploited, and I really don't see a corner on the roster that can keep up with Corey Davis for a whole game. Much like the last couple of weeks, expect a decent performance out of Zach Terrell and, by extension, the whole offense.
That being said, it doesn't appear to be a great matchup for WMU right now. With Zurlon Tipton continuing to get healthier and Saylor Lavalli already heading up a competent run game, CMU should be able to control the contest on the ground if they so choose. Assuming the game plan drawn up by the CMU staff is competent and plays to that weakness of the WMU defense, the Chippewas should be able to grind out the win in Kalamazoo.
Central Michigan 34, Western Michigan 26
D.J. Duckett: Western Michigan has not been able to put everything together this season, but all that could change on Saturday. Beating Central Michigan would give a silver lining to an otherwise disappointing year. P.J. Fleck needs a win like this to jump start the program he is trying to build, and that desperation is what I believe will drive the Broncos to a victory.
Dareyon Chance will rise to the occasion in this one and leave WMU with a stellar performance, that is if the offensive line can give him lanes to run through. If he is able to give WMU a solid rushing attack, Zach Terrell might be able to use play action to find his deep threats Kendrick Roberts and Corey Davis. I like the Broncos in a nail-biter.
Western Michigan 23, Central Michigan 21
Brian Persky: There's not much left to play for if you're Western Michigan, except maybe the upcoming game against archrival Central Michigan. Winning this game would not only be a huge boost for the players heading into DeKalb in two weeks, but it would also be a huge boost for P.J. Fleck as well. As has always been the case at Western Michigan, a coach's tenure is largely defined by two things; MAC championships and beating Central Michigan.
The Broncos got beat up on the ground last week against Eastern Michigan's Bronson Hill and Ryan Brumfield. Look for much of the same in regards to CMU's running attack. Having said that, this is a beatable Central Michigan team that doesn't typically put up a lot of points, even when they do win. I think the Chips' defense can be vulnerable at times, but similar to what we've witnessed throughout much of the season, I don't expect the Broncos to be able to keep up on the scoreboard.
Central Michigan 31, Western Michigan 20