After falling behind 7-0 in the first quarter, Western Michigan . . .
The Broncos began to find their stride in the second quarter. Backed up on its own 2-yard line, WMU held the ball for over 10 minutes, going 68 yards in 19 plays. The highlight of the drive was on 3rd-and-17 when quarterback Zach Terrell used his legs, scrambling to pick up the first down inside Northwestern territory.
WMU walked away with its first points when freshman kicker Butch Hampton converted his first career field goal, a 47-yard attempt. Hampton booted in another 27-yard field goal before the break to put WMU down 7-6 at the half.
Western Michigan continued to gain steam in the second half as the Broncos took their first lead on the first drive of the third quarter. Senior wide receiver Corey Davis had a 20-yard catch and run into Northwestern territory, setting up freshman D'Wayne Eskridge's first career touchdown. The state champion in Indiana for the 100m sprint last year, Eskridge turned the corner on a 13-yard screen pass to the end zone.
Northwestern answered with a 46-yard touchdown run from Justin Jackson and WMU's Hampton hit his third field goal to close out the third quarter with Western Michigan leading, 16-14. The Wildcats went back on top at the start of the fourth quarter, 21-16, putting together a 63-yard drive, capped by one-yard TD by Jackson,
Western Michigan rose to the challenge on its next possession, taking over six-and-a-half minutes off the clock with the game-winning 75-yard drive. Junior tight end Donnie Ernsberger, who only made two catches all of the 2015 season, hauled in a key 19-yard reception. Facing fourth and goal later in the drive, Bogan punched the ball in from the one-yard line to put WMU in front, 22-21, with 5:38 to go. A two-point conversion by the Broncos fell incomplete.
Northwestern threatened on its final drive before WMU senior linebacker Robert Spillane forced a fumble near the goal line late with less than three minutes remaining. The Broncos' Davontae Ginwright recovered the ball in the end zone for a touchback, helping WMU secure the win.
"If we didn't take care of the ball there was no way we were going to win that football game. That's really what it came down to, was who turned the ball over first. Both teams are very disciplined and both teams are very well coached,” WMU head coach P.J. Fleck said.
On WMU's final possession of the game, redshirt senior Carrington Thompson came up with a huge third-down grab to help the Broncos melt away the clock. Bogan picked up another first down on the ground and Western Michigan took a knee to close out the victory.