Western Michigan opened the season on Saturday, losing its season opener for the 10th straight season. The Broncos began the year at Purdue, falling to the Boilermakers 43-34.
Western Michigan started the season against a Big Ten team for the seventh time in the past eight seasons. The Broncos were competitive throughout, but several mistakes cost WMU a chance for its first ever win against Purdue.
Here are three takeaways from WMU’s first game.
1. Does Western Michigan have a running game? Historically, WMU has found success behind its spread offense. This is the school of Ryan Cubit, Alex Carder, Tim Hiller, Greg Jennings and Tony Scheffler. On Saturday though, it was a freshman running back that took over. Playing in his first collegiate game, Jarvion Franklin tore through the Purdue defense, racking up 163 yards and three touchdowns. Franklin’s debut was the second-best start for a Broncos running back all-time, only surpassed by Jerome Persell’s 241-yard start in 1976.
2. Quarterback is a question mark: At times, sophomore quarterback Zach Terrell looked like a solid game-manager. But, he finished just 23-for-41 for 243 yards. Terrell also threw a costly interception in the second quarter that swung the momentum when WMU was leading 14-13. The Boilermakers would score on the ensuing drive, and never looked back.
3. The defense has to improve: The Broncos defense was put into several tough spots, but still didn’t deliver. Purdue scored on eight of its 15 possessions, and scored four touchdowns on five red zone possessions. Western Michigan also didn’t force any turnovers, putting added pressure on WMU’s young offense.
Western Michigan has two weeks to prepare for its next game. After a bye week, the Broncos return to action on Sept. 13 when they play at Idaho.
Other MAC Scores
Akron 41-0 Howard
Northern Illinois 55-3 Presbyterian
Central Michigan 20-16 Tennessee-Chattanooga
Western Kentucky 59-31 Bowling Green
Ball State 30-10 Colgate
Boston College 30-7 UMass
Marshall 42-27 Miami
Buffalo 38-28 Duquesne
Eastern Michigan 31-28 Morgan State
Ohio 17-14 Kent State
Toledo 54-20 New Hampshire
Week 2 MAC Games (Sept. 6)
Akron at Penn State, 12 p.m.
Central Michigan at Purdue, 12 p.m.
Buffalo at Army, 12 p.m.
No. 24 Missouri at Toledo, 12 p.m.
South Alabama at Kent State, 2 p.m.
Colorado at UMass, 3 p.m.
Eastern Kentucky at Miami, 3:30 p.m.
Ohio at Kentucky, 3:30 p.m.
Ball State at Iowa, 3:30 p.m.
Northern Illinois at Northwestern, 3:30 p.m.
VMI at Bowling Green, 3:30 p.m.
Eastern Michigan at Florida, 4 p.m.