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2010 Record: (6-6, 5-3 in MAC)

Head Coach: Bill Cubit (40-33 at WMU, 74-51-1 All-Time)

Last Bowl Game: 2008 Texas Bowl: lost to Rice 38-14

 

Schedule

9/3: at Michigan (2009 result: lost 31-7)

9/10: Nicholls State (2010 result: won 49-14)

9/17: Central Michigan (2010 result: lost 26-22)

9/24: at Illinois

10/1: at UConn

10/8: Bowling Green (2010 result: won 41-7)

10/15: at Northern Illinois (2010 result: lost 28-21)

10/22: at Eastern Michigan (2010 result: won 45-30)

10/29: Ball State (2010 result: won 45-16)

11/12: at Toledo (2010 result: lost 37-24)

11/19: at Miami, Oh (2009 result: won 48-26)

11/25: Akron (2010 result: won 56-10)

 

2010 Offensive Statistics:

Scoring: 32.3 ppg (2nd in MAC, 27th in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 125.92 yds/game (7th in MAC, 93rd in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 285.8 yds/game (1st in MAC, 16th in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 411.7 yds/game (2nd in MAC, 34th in Nation)

 

2010 Defensive Statistics:

Scoring: 23.8 ppg (5th in MAC, 51st in Nation)

Rushing Yds/Game: 166.58 yds/game (9th in MAC, 76th in Nation)

Passing Yds/Game: 221.3 yds/game (8th in MAC, 62nd in Nation)

Total Yds/Game: 387.8 yds/game (9th in MAC, 73rd in Nation)

 

2010 Misc Stats:

Turnover Margin: +0.25 per game (4th in MAC, 42nd in Nation)

Penalties: 53.1 yds/game (9th in MAC, 67th in Nation)

 

Returning Starters:

Offense: 7

Defense: 8

Kicker/Punter: 2

 

Top Returning Statistical Leaders:

Passing: Alex Carder, Jr (289 of 458 for 3334 yds, 30 TD, 12 INT)

Rushing: RB Tevin Drake, Soph (40 for 405, 10.13 ypc, 4 TD)

Receiving: WR Jordan White, Sr* (94 rec for 1378 yds, 10 TD)

Tackles: LB Mitch Zajac, Sr (97)

Sacks: DE Paul Hazel, Jr (8)

Interceptions: CB Lewis Toler, Soph (5)

*sixth year senior (granted medical hardship due to missing 2006 and 2008 seasons)

 

The last two years have seen the Western Michigan Broncos go 5-7 and 6-6. In 2009 they went 4-4 in the MAC and in 2010 they improved to 5-3. Can they take the next step this year and get back to their first bowl since 2008 when they went to the Texas Bowl? In Phil Steele'e preview magazine he pegs the Broncos as his 16th most improved team this year. What has him so high on the Broncos? One place to start is with QB Alex Carder. Going into the 2010 season Carder had thrown just seven passes in college but he showed that he was a quick learner and put up some impressive statistics. Carder finished 1st in the MAC in TD passes, 2nd in the MAC in passing yards, and was the 2nd highest rated passer in the league. He's just a junior and that's good news for Broncos fans. Did I mention that Carder will be throwing to a guy, Jordan White, who had 94 receptions for 1378 yards last year? I think those two guys probably have some chemistry. The Broncos also have two soph RBs that put up some eye popping stats last year in Tevin Drake (played in only 6 games but averaged 10.13 yards per carry on 40 attempts and scored 4 TD- that's one TD every 10 carries) and Brian Fields (averaged 6.46 yards per carry and scored 3 TD on just 56 attempts). The future looks bright on offense and their defense looks to improve this season as they return eight starters off of last years squad. The bad news for the Broncos might be that they are in the West Division which looks like the stronger of the two as it includes Toledo and Northern Illinois. We wanted to get a local perspective on the team so we talked with Broncos Super Fan and founder of the WMU student section "Waldo Stampede", Fitz James

 

What do you feel are the greatest strengths and biggest weaknesses of this Broncos team?

In general, the passing game is the greatest strength, with Alex Carder (3,334 yards, 30 TD) pacing possibly the most explosive attack in the conference. His top receiver, Jordan White (1,378 yards, 10 TD), is back for a sixth year and could challenge for an All-American spot if he builds on his breakout 2010 campaign. A lot of this will depend on an inexperienced offensive line, though, which could throw a huge wrench into an otherwise very promising season. New OL starters Greg Peterson and Terry Davisson must prove to be at least serviceable.

Defensively, WMU is very talented on the line and in the secondary, but highly touted WMU defenses have struggled before. 2008's team sent safety Louis Delmas and corner E.J. Biggers to the NFL and still gave up passing yards in bunches, so Bronco fans will believe it when they see it.

 

For those who don't follow MAC football tell us a little about the best players on Western Michigan.

Besides the dynamic tandem of Carder and White mentioned above, WMU boasts Freshman All-American selection Lewis Toler (59 tackles, 5 INT) at cornerback and pass rushing specialist Paul Hazel (12 TFL, 8 sacks) on defense. Both have next-level talent, though Hazel needs to gain about 30 to 40 pounds. Also worth a mention is tailback Tevin Drake, who injected life into the left-for-dead running game with over ten yards per carry over the second half of 2010, though he'll need to prove he can produce against better competition.

 

What are the biggest reasons to be optimistic about Western Michigan football this year?

This is the most complete team WMU has fielded in a while, perhaps ever. It's hard not to get excited about the possibilities as very few MAC teams can claim the type of talent discussed above. The elephant in the room, though, for excited Broncos fans is the schedule, which includes road trips to Michigan, Illinois, and UConn as well as top MAC squads in Northern Illinois, Toledo, and Miami. WMU could (and probably will) win all five games in Kalamazoo, but feasibly may still only win six or seven total because of the brutal makeup of the schedule.

 

What is the one team that Broncos fans want to beat more than any other this year?

This one is easy. Central Michigan.  This is the marquee rivalry in the conference, and some would argue in the state of Michigan. However, as much as I hate to acknowledge it, Central has won the last five in the series, including last year's 26-22 debacle in which WMU blew a 22-13 fourth quarter lead. To add further importance, the CMU game is our MAC opener, and losing it would be a devastating blow to all of our dreams. WMU does face Michigan in week one, and a win would certainly warm our hearts, but Central is priority number one.

 

Looking at the schedule, what are the most important games this year?

Besides CMU, the games at Northern Illinois and Toledo will likely decide the Broncos' fate in the MAC West race. WMU has the talent to win both, but has to play them both on the road, complicating matters significantly. WMU faithful would also love to grab a win over a BCS conference team after some unimpressive performances the past couple seasons.

 

What is your gut feeling on the final record for the 2011 season and what makes the season successful in your eyes?

To be a true success, WMU needs to win the conference. It's time for Coach Cubit to get the monkey off his back. 29-18 is a good MAC record for his career, but we need a championship, and this team has more than enough talent to make it happen. With that said, it will be far from easy and the fanbase will likely be (at least temporarily) placated with a bowl berth. This team's ceiling is probably 10-2 and a MAC title, but I would put the most likely outcome at 8-4, including a 6-2 MAC mark and a win over one of Michigan, Illinois, or UConn.

 

Next Previews: Iowa and Washington

 

2011 Team Previews

ACC- Boston College, Clemson, Duke, Maryland, Miami, NC State, Wake Forest

Big 12- Baylor , Kansas St, Texas Tech

Big East- Cincinnati, Louisville, Pittsburgh, USF

Big Ten- Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota , Northwestern, Penn St, Purdue

C-USA- East Carolina, Houston , Marshall, SMU, Southern Mississippi, UAB, UCF

Independent- Army

MAC- Akron, Ball St, Bowling Green, Buffalo , Central Michigan, Eastern Michigan, Temple, Toledo

MWC- Air Force, New Mexico, UNLV, Wyoming

Pac-12- Arizona , Oregon St, UCLA

Sun Belt- FAU, FIU, Louisiana, Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Troy , ULM, Western Kentucky

WAC- Fresno St, Idaho, San Jose St