WMU started off the game with an almost unstoppable rushing attack, as they marched down the field on an 11 play, 75 yard drive in which they only threw the ball once. La’Darius Jefferson capped off the ground and pound approach with a one yard rush to put the Broncos up 7-0.
The teams went back and forth for the next few minutes, but Brice Garner put an end to the stagnant play by snagging an interception and keeping his feet in with a toe tap on the sideline to give the Broncos prime field position with 5:50 remaining in the first quarter. WMU was unable to materialize anything on the ensuing drive, and the score remained at 7-0 at the end of the quarter.
The second quarter proved to be quite boring for most of its duration, until Sean Tyler took over on a drive with 4:56 remaining in the half. Tyler caught a 30-yard pass and rushed for 12 yards, including a three yard touchdown to end the drive. Western Michigan would get the ball back once more, but would fail to create anything meaningful on the drive. WMU headed into the locker room up by a score of 14-0.
Western Michigan came out of the locker room with a bang. The defense halted the opening drive by the Redbirds, and the offense wasted no time in striking. WMU steadily made their way down the field, but the offensive push was highlighted by an impeccable pass between two defenders by Kaleb Eleby to Jaylen Hall for a 24-yard score. The touchdown put the Broncos up by a score of 21-0.
The WMU defense came through again, stopping the next ISU drive in its tracks with a sack by Matthew Stuckey on third down. Kaleb Eleby and company struck while the iron was hot, as La’Darius Jefferson rushed for 45 yards on the drive, emphasized by a seven yard touchdown run. The game had officially become a blowout, with the Broncos possessing a comfortable lead of 28-0.
After a long and scoreless 4th quarter, the Broncos watched the clock hit 0 and secured their first win of the season. Kaleb Eleby completed 15 passes on 21 attempts for 174 yards and a touchdown as the signal caller. La’Darius Jefferson steamrolled the ISU defense with his 106 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 18 carries, while Jaylen Hall led all receivers with seven receptions for 75 yards and a touchdown.
Corvin Moment led the defense with six tackles, a sack and three tackles for loss. Bricen Garner also chipped in with his first interception of the season. The defense gave up only 57 total yards of offense, a mark that ties the best in program history.
“We played a lot of guys. We were banged up and a lot of different people went in. We had a plan, a really aggressive plan, and I thought those guys executed well. They kept putting us in good positions over and over again,” said head coach Tim Lester about his defense’s performance.
Western Michigan moves to a 1-1 record on the season, with their next contest being a matchup with Pitt next Saturday.