“It’s Central Western week.”
The Brown and Gold will meet its Mid-American Conference West Division rival, the Central Michigan University Chippewas, in the 82nd annual meeting this Saturday in Mt. Pleasant.
The game is only the fifth time that the rivals will battle for the Cannon trophy and the Broncos have the task of defending their trophy for the first time.
The Cannon series could easily be tied 2-2, and probably should be, but the last time WMU traveled to CMU during the 2010 season, the Broncos fumbled away a victory inside the Chippewas 5-yard line with under a minute to play in the game. WMU only trailed CMU by four points.
The Chippewas took a knee, and with the timing of the game in that season, took the Broncos bowl hopes along with them. This season could be identical with a WMU loss.
WMU lost, 26-22, after the Broncos blew an 11-point lead. The Brown and Gold also lost four of five fumbles on a nasty wintery-mix night. Mother Nature has a way of showing her face when these teams hook up for the rivalry game.
Neither team will appear in the MAC Championship game this year, but that doesn’t take any luster away from this series.
Last season WMU snapped a five game losing streak with a 44-14 drubbing of the Chips at Waldo Stadium. The win gave WMU head coach Bill Cubit his first win against CMU since the 2005 season, his first year in Kalamazoo.
WMU leads the all-time series with CMU 44-35-2, but coach Cubit is 2-5 against the Chips and won the Cannon for his first time in four attempts last year. He’s never beaten CMU in consecutive seasons, and that’s more than enough incentive to get his first win in Mt. Pleasant.
The Broncos have scored at will against CMU in recent years putting up a minimum of 20 points in ten of the last eleven meetings.
Last year, WMU dominated the Chips from the opening kickoff, but Jordan White and Robert Arnheim have left the building since then. Not to mention, WMU starting quarterback Alex Carder still won’t be back after having a pin placed in his throwing hand after banging his hand on an opponent’s helmet earlier in the season.
With or without Carder, the receiving corps has been injury prone since the opening kickoff of the season when Broncos wideout Timmy Keith went down for the year after rupturing his ACL.
Tyler VanTubbergen will get the start again and will find out firsthand what this rivalry has to offer.
WMU is (3-6, 1-4 MAC) entering this game and would have to win just to be bowl eligible.