AKRON, OHIO – The Western Michigan Broncos sent an emphatic message to the rest of the teams in the Mid-American Conference and -- and college football -- Saturday: The Broncos' undefeated record and national ranking in both polls are no fluke.
That message came in the form of a 41-0 demolition of the Akron Zips as WMU improved to 7-0 (3-0 MAC) on the season. The Broncos' victory was their ninth straight dating back to last season. It gives WMU its best start to a season since 1941 and was Western's first shutout since 2000 -- also against UA.
"This game is . . .
Akron's 41-point margin of defeat was the worst since Terry Bowden became head coach and was the first home shutout in the eight-year history of UA's on-campus home. The loss also ended a six-game MAC winning streak dating back to 2015.
"Every now and then, you just get beat. Tonight, we just got beat on offense and on defense. Western Michigan just took it to us, and we didn’t have any answers,“ Bowden said.
“We couldn’t make any plays on offense, (and) we missed some opportunities early to match people. Some of the games we had earlier in the season, they would score, then we would score, they would score and then we would score. I mean … we had two three-and-outs and we were down 21-0 and just never could get back at them. The credit goes to them, even with a couple of turnovers, they’re still a very good team and they were just too much for us.”
The first was on the opening kickoff as WMU marched 75 yards in 10 plays. Senior QB Zach Terrell applied the finish, using the quarterback sneak from one yard out for the score.
From the first drive, the visitors from Kalamazoo would run and pass almost at will on the Zips defense.
The second touchdown was a seven-play 64-yard march as Jarvion Franklin went up the middle from three yards out for a 14-0 lead. It would be a monster running day for the senior as he gained a career high 281 yards on a sunny afternoon.
WMU’s third touchdown came at the start of the second quarter after another three and out by their defense. Terrell and the offensive 11 put together a 75 yard, 16-play march as he found senior WR Corey Davis on a fade patern in the left side of the end zone to make the score 21-0.
The Broncos defense then stuffed the Zips on a fourth down at their own 44. The offense then capitalized with a six-play drive capped by freshman RB Davoin Tucker blasting up the middle from 13 yards away to make the score 27-0.
There were only two blemishes on the Broncos almost perfect afternoon. The first came in the kicking game as freshman PK Butch Hampton missed the conversion after the fourth score, then was woefully short on a 52-yard field goal attempt on the final play of the first half.
The second came as they turned the ball over for the first time this season when Tucker fumbled midway through the middle stanza.
WMU eventually padded its lead by adding a pair of fourth quarter touchdowns to cap a pair of 90-plus yard drives.
The first was a 95-yard drive as Terrell and Davis hooked up for the second time in the game, this one over the middle from 17-yards out. Davis finished the day with eight receptions for 63 yards and the two scores.
The second was on the Broncos final offensive possession of the afternoon. With the first team still in the game, they marched 92 yards. Franklin finished, easily getting into the end zone for his second touchdown from a yard out.
For the Zips, they gained only 268 yards of offense, their lowest output of the season as they could not get anything moving offensively. Their longest drive of the game was a 65-yard nine play trip midway through the second quarter. That drive ended with Chapman throwing an interception.
On the day, Chapman completed 13-of-31 passes for only 153 yards and the two interceptions. He also rushed for 49 yards.The defense was again led by LB Ulysses Gilbert,along with LB John Lako. Both registered 13 total tackles.
If there was one silver lining for UA, was that they are still tied for first place in the Eastern Division with Ohio after the Bobcats home loss to Eastern Michigan
Next week, WMU heads home to face the surprising Eagles, while the Zips begin a two-game road swing at Ball State.