The Broncos and Trojans were . . .
WMU's defense had two interceptions and two sacks against Trojan quarterback and Heisman hopeful Sam Darnold.
Sophomore running back LeVante Bellamy stepped off 102 yards as the visitors out-gained USC 263-232 with 102 yards on the day. Jamauri Bogan had a team-high 15 rushes for 78 yards, while Jarvion Franklin had 41 yards on 12 carries.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Jon Wassink had 35 yards and a touchdown on the ground, completed 11-of-22 passes for 67 yards and caught a 27-yard touchdown pass from Keishawn Watson in his first collegiate start.
Justin Tranquill led all Broncos with eight tackles on the afternoon. Asantay Brown had seven tackles, including a sack. Sam Beal and Phillips each picked off Darnold, while Eric Assoua picked up the team's second sack.
The Trojans received the ball to start the game and quickly drove down for a touchdown after long rushes by Ronald Jones. Jones had a 29-yard run on the second play of the drive and then capped off the scoring drive with a 16-yard touchdown to put the Broncos down 7-0 just 2:00 into the game.
WMU went three-and-out on its first drive, but a big sack by Brown forced a three-and-out for USC.
The Broncos hit the ground running, with Franklin rushing for five yards on two plays. With a third-and five Wassink scrambled for 15-yards for the first down to keep the drive alive. After another first down Wassink went deep to Watson, who was interfered with, placing the ball at the USC 12.
From there Wassink connected with tight end Donnie Ernsberger for eight yards and Bogan ran it in from four-yards out for his first touchdown of the season. Freshman kicker Josh Grant nailed his first extra-point attempt as the Broncos tied it up 7-7 with 3:38 left in the first quarter.
Western Michigan forced another three-and-out and then marched right down the field on an eight-play 59-yard drive to take a 14-7 lead. Bellamy took the opening play 22 yards and then rushed for 16 more yards to get the Broncos into Trojan territory.
Franklin took over on the ground with runs of five, two and nine to get the ball down to the USC 23. Wassink connected with Curtis and a run by Bellamy got WMU down to the seven before the first quarter ended. Wassink ran it into the end zone for his first career rushing touchdown to open the second period.
USC tied it up later in the second quarter after Jones ran it in from one-yard out for his second touchdown of the game. The Trojans started the drive on the WMU 45 and after a sack by Assoua was able to hit big gains twice to Deonta Burnett to get down to the Western Michigan 29. Darnold connected with Jones on a 19-yard pass to get it to the WMU 9 before Jones' touchdown.
The Broncos marched right down the field to open the third quarter to take a 21-14 lead. WMU moved to mid-field on rushes by Bellamy, Wassink and a pass to Curtis. After a false start call on the Broncos, a personal foul was called on USC to move WMU down to the USC 38.
Wassink had a pass intercepted but the Trojans were called for interference, moving WMU down the 27-yard line. Lester pulled into his bag of tricks on the next play, with Watson completing a pass to Wassink and the quarterback took it 27 yards for the touchdown.
The Trojans tied it at 21-21 on a 10-play 83-yard drive that was capped off by a touchdown run by Arnold from 11 yards out. Burnett had 53 yards receiving on the drive to help move USC down the field.
USC took a 28-21 lead on a 12-play 56-yard drive after a one-yard run by Stephen Carr. The drive started after a WMU put to the Trojan 45. Darnold moved the ball steadily down the field after completions to Carr, Tyler Petite and Josh Imatorbhebhe before four-straight rushes by Carr.
The Broncos immediately tied it up after Phillips took the kickoff back 100 yards for a touchdown. It was the fourth career kickoff return for Phillips, who also intercepted Darnold late in the second quarter, and the third of 100 yards.
USC responded immediately with a three-play 83-yard drive. After Jones rushed for four yards, Darnold connected with Burnett for 42 yards. On the following play Jones took it 37 yards for the touchdown to give the Trojans a 35-28 lead.
Western Michigan put another scoring drive together thanks to a 48-yard run by Bellamy to get WMU deep into USC territory. Penalties pushed the Broncos back and Grant made his first collegiate field goal from 44 yards out to cut the lead to 35-31.
Carr completed another quick scoring drive for the Trojans after a 53-yard touchdown run to push the lead to 42-31 and on the following drive Wassink had a pass deflected and intercepted. Marvell Tell returned it 37 yards for the touchdown to put the game out of reach, 49-31
Western Michigan heads to East Lansing to battle the Spartans on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 3:30 p.m.
(Courtesy of WMU Athletics)