YSPILANTI, Mich. - On an emotional day for everyone associated with Western Michigan football, the Broncos defeated Eastern Michigan, 35-14 at Rynearson Stadium. Brandon West broke the NCAA Division I FBS record for career all-purpose yards and now holds the mark at 7,626 for his career.
West set many a milestone on Saturday. Not only did he break DeAngelo Williams' (Memphis) career all-purpose mark, but he also became only the third Bronco to rush for 1,000 yards in back-to-back seasons and the first since Robert Sanford in 1999 and 2000. Jerome Persell remains the only WMU ball carrier to accomplish the feat three times in succession.
The senior from Brunswick, Ga., also became only the fourth back in Bronco history to carry the ball over 700 times in his career, now with 711 rushing attempts. He finished the day with 140 yards on 25 carries to go over the century mark on the ground for the fourth time in 2009.
The Western Michigan offense did most of its damage between the 7:40 mark of the first quarter and the 1:09 mark of the second, scoring 28-straight points after giving up an opening score to the Eagles. Three of the four scores went to a tight end as Tim Hiller threw for four TDs in a game for the ninth time in his career, connecting with Matt Stevens twice and Chad Baliko once, the senior's first career TD catch.
After EMU's Alex Gillett scored from four yards out in the first quarter, Hiller and company marched 59 yards in 11 plays, converting on a fourth-and-3 at the Eagles' 16-yard line to keep the drive moving. Hiller found Stevens from three yards out to even the score.
Three of Eastern Michigan's next four drives ended in a turnover as WMU forced a season best six turnovers on three interceptions and three fumble recoveries. The two picks of the first half, both courtesy of Jamail Berry, resulted in a one-yard West run and an eight-yard TD pass from Hiller to Stevens, the second of the day capping a 68-yard, 10-play drive.
Both offenses took a step back in the second half as the Broncos were forced to punt on three of their four possessions, including the first three, while the Eagles punted four times, lost two fumbles and threw a third pick, this time to Damond Smith with 13 seconds in regulation.
Whenever Eastern Michigan put the ball on the ground, Drew Nowak was not too far behind, recovering a pair of fumbles and forcing another. He did both on one play alone. Berry also recovered a fumble to account for three Bronco take aways. Austin Pritchard made a season-high 14 tackles to give him a career 92 on the season.
Hiller threw for 275 yards on 21-of-31 (67.7 percent) and four TDs. He has now thrown at least one TD to 20 different receivers and has 98 for his career, two shy of tying and three shy of surpassing Marshall's Chad Pennington for the Mid-American Conference career record.
His fourth and final scoring strike came on a ball that Robert Arnheim went up top to get over the defender. The sophomore escaped from initial contact and raced 65 yards to the end zone. He finished with 87 yards receiving. Jordan White led all receivers with a career high 140 yards on a career best 10 catches. He is only the second receiver with 10 or more catches in a game this season.
Post Game Press Conference
Post game from EMU
Scoring SummaryEastern Michigan: Alex Gillett 4 yd run (Joe Carithers kick)Western Michigan: Matt Stevens 1 yd pass from Tim Hiller (John Potter kick)Western Michigan: Chad Baliko 2 yd pass from Tim Hiller (John Potter kick)Western Michigan: Brandon West 1 yd run (John Potter kick)Western Michigan: Matt Stevens 8 yd pass from Tim Hiller (John Potter kick)Eastern Michigan: Kinsman Thomas 12 yd pass from Alex Gillett (Joe Carithers kick)Western Michigan: Robert Arnheim 65 yd pass from Tim Hiller (John Potter kick)Team Statistics Eastern MichiganWestern MichiganTOTAL FIRST DOWNS2023TOTAL NET YARDS364439Total Plays6969Average Gain5.36.4NET YARDS RUSHING178164Rushes4336Average per rush4.14.6NET YARDS PASSING186275Completions-attempted15-2621-33Sacked00Yards Lost00TOTAL TURNOVERS62Interceptions31Fumbles Lost31OTHER Penalties43Penalty Yards1740Time of Possesion30:4229:18Punts44Punt Average35.2537.75Return Yards7562PassingEastern MichiganCMPATTYDSTDINTYDS/ATT Alex Gillett (0)1526186137.2Western MichiganCMPATTYDSTDINTYDS/ATT Tim Hiller (0)2131275418.9 Team (0)010000.0Robert Arnheim (0)010000.0RushingEastern MichiganATTYDSTDAVG Alex Gillett (0)2610514.0Dwayne Priest (0)103603.6DeAnthony White (0)43208.0Terrence Blevins (0)2603.0 Team (0)1-10-1.0Western MichiganATTYDSTDAVG Brandon West (0)2514015.6Aaron Winchester (0)52605.2Tim Hiller (0)5000.0 Team (0)1-20-2.0ReceivingEastern MichiganATTYDSTDAVG Kinsman Thomas (0)54719.4 Tyrone Burke (0)477019.3 Ben Thayer (0)232016.0 Garrett Hoskins (0)112012.0 DeAnthony White (0)1707.0 Corey Manns (0)1707.0 Trey Hunter (0)1404.0 Western MichiganATTYDSTDAVG Jordan White (0)10140014.0 Robert Arnheim (0)387129.0 Matt Stevens (0)2924.5 Ansel Ponder (0)2804.0 Chleb Ravenell (0)122022.0 Trey Smith (0)110010.0 Chad Baliko (0)1212.0 Aaron Winchester (0)1-30-3.0