So close yet so far away.
The Western Michigan University football team has continued the apparent theme of the 2012 campaign.
Lose one game, win one game, repeat.
The Broncos (3-4, 1-2 MAC) fell to the Ball State University Cardinals (4-3, 2-1 MAC), 30-24, in overtime after dominating the line of scrimmage for the entire first half. The Brown and Gold pounded the ball on the ground at will for numerous large gains and took a 21-10 lead into the locker room.
That’s where the Broncos offense stayed.
“We had a whole bunch of opportunities,” WMU RB Dareyon Chance told reporters. “We did a few good things in the first half and, in the second half, we kind of crumbled. We’ve got to capitalize all through the game.”
WMU was outscored 14-3 in the second half, and the three Bronco points scored came on a last second 52-yard field goal by Andrew Haldeman to send the game to OT.
Coincidentally, Haldeman missed a 28-yard FG attempt late in the fourth quarter that would’ve put WMU up, 24-17, forcing BSU to score justto tie. Instead BSU scored the go-ahead TD in front of its Homecoming crowd in Muncie.
Ultimately, Haldeman missed his attempt on the Broncos overtime possession. The Cardinals ended the game with a touchdown score after the missed WMU FG.
The game was full of penalties, blunders, and head-scratching scenarios for both schools. The OT loss is the first for WMU since dropping the 2005 meeting with BSU in five OT’s, 60-57.
WMU was able to stay consistent with a potent ground game after Dareyon Chance gained 116 yards while averaging more than a first down per carry, and Brian Fields added 96 yards on a career high 18 carries.
Broncos QB Tyler VanTubbergen went 16-for-31 for 202 yards and a TD, but the interception in the Cardinals endzone may’ve been the possession needed for a WMU victory.
Terry Easmon, Johnnie Simon, and Freddie Bishop all posted at least ten tackles on the day and WMU added another four sacks to the season total in the loss.
“The defense played well,” WMU head coach Bill Cubit told reporters. “They did a lot of good things. Our kicking game put them in some tough spots and our offense didn’t help out. Unfortunately at the end, they gave up two big plays, but they played well enough to win.”
This has been a 180-degree change from WMU teams of seasons past. Usually, it’s the explosive Broncos offense getting let down by a shredded WMU defense costing the Brown and Gold victory, but now, injuries coupled with inexperience on offense are costing WMU on the scoreboard.
“We had them off balance and all of the sudden in the second half, we have bad field position,” Cubit told reporters in angst. “When we do get a chance, we drop a TD pass and then miss a field goal, back-to-back. That would’ve been a big key. To have gotten us the touchdown, where we’d win the game.”
This week, the Broncos travel to face the Kent State University Golden Flashes for its second match-up against a Mid-American Conference East Division opponent.