Every one expected WMU to be in a dogfight this season, unfortunately for WMU fans they were wrong about what prize they would be fighting for. Everyone thought the dogfight would be for first place, instead they are in a fight for second, third, or fourth place with NIU and Toledo. WMU has played the hardest part of their schedule and escaped 2-2 in conference, a conference mark of 6-2 is entirely possible and an overall record of 7-5 might just get them to a bowl game.
Season High Point:
Beating up on Toledo two weeks ago. WMU came in as the underdog, licking their wounds from a thrashing at the hands of Northern Illinois the week before. The win put the Bronco's season back on track.
Season Low Point:
Losing to Northern Illinois or losing to Central Michigan. I suppose you would have to be a die hard Bronco fan to know for sure. On the one hand the Loss to NIU created a complete bottle neck for second in the west among three teams but the CMU loss was to a rival and kept WMU from leading in the log jam.
Do they take care of the Ball?
No, they actually do a worse job than Buffalo, so far WMU has 17 turnovers on the year, eight in the air and nine on the ground. Their worst game was against the Huskies where they gave up five turnovers (sound familiar).
How is their Passing Offense?
Top notch, when they have their top receivers they are top notch. WMU as a team is as beat up as much as any member of the conference and more than most. But if any quarterback that UB will face this year can make up for losing a number of weapons its going to be Hiller.
How is their Rushing Offense?
So-So, they don't use it a whole lot but they have not had need. If the UB secondary can handle WMU's "b team" receivers we will get a look at just how good Brandon West is when he is called to anchor an offense.
How are their receivers?
For this game, they may be defanged. I have not seen the official two deep WMU is putting out this week but word is that both Nunez and White are going to miss this weekends game (day-to-day). Robert Arnheim is a quality receiver but without being flanked by two of the conferences better wide outs he will be carrying a big workload.
How about their offensive line?
Not a lot of big name players (aside from Anthony Parker) but as a unit they are solid, one sack per game protecting a team that throws 60% of the time is a pretty nice stat line.
Are they High Powered?
When Hiller and his receivers are clicking, yes... Their top four receivers average 10+ yards per reception and their top seven receivers average better than 8.
How Well do they convert on 3rd?
43% of the time which is pretty much in line with what the Bulls have done this season.
Can their offense close a drive?
Scoring only 70% of the time puts them among the worst teams in College football, but when they do score it's usually a touchdown. WMU averages 4 points per trip.
How Good is their defense?
Pretty bad, but their level of competition has been solid. They rank in the bottom quarter of MAC teams in just about every category but their remaining schedule includes Ball State, EMU, and Kent.
Do they take the Ball Away?
Like Buffalo they average just more than one takeaway per game, and like Buffalo that is completely insufficient given the how often their offense turns the ball over. Only two of their take aways are interceptions so UB, which has had problems fumbling the ball this season, should be careful.
Can they stop the Run?
No, the only team against which they have effectively stuffed the run was Miami, even Hofstra put up 140 on them. Aside from Miami, every FBS team they have faced have put up at least 170 on the Broncos.
Can they stop the Pass?
This is one of those times that they look slightly more solid against the pass (in terms of yardage) but when you look that how opposing quarterbacks actually do in terms of TD/Int ratio (13:2) or overall efficiency (132) you realize they yardage is only down because it so easy to run on them.
How do they perform on third downs?
They are a respectable 36% at getting off the field on third downs.
How is their red zone defense?
They are letting teams score nearly 90% of the time they get inside the 20 and when they score its a TD by more than a 2:1 margin. (almost five points per trip).
How well do they get after the QB?
A little more than one sack a game, on average not all that bad. The problem for WMU is that all eight of their sacks came in either the Hofstra or Miami game. They have not gotten to the quarterback in three weeks. To be fair they have played some good teams in that time.
Do they get after you in the backfield?
No, defiantly not and just as with sacks what little damage they have been doing is based mainly on their two weakest opponents.
How is their return game?
Brandon West is a scary man in the return game. He may only rank 4th in the MAC but he is liable to break one at any time. UB has to be careful and do their best to keep the ball away from him.
How well do they defend returns?
Very well, they are ranked 7th nationally so its a long shot that this is the game where UB's return team finally makes its mark.
How well do they Kick?
They kick well, but their star kicker, just like their star receivers is a bit banged up. I still have not heard officially if he will be playing (day to day with a concussion). Nobody else has tried a field goal for WMU this season so its iffy as to how the Kicking game will perform.
How Well do they Punt?
They are netting nearly 40 yards per punt... Enough said...
How does WMU do against Buffalo?
Last season the Bronco's crushed UB's hopes of being seen as an equal to the best teams in the conference when they had a miracle 4th quarter comeback. UB would go on to win the conference but is viewed by many WMU/CMU/BSU fans as having 'backed in' because of the losses to WMU (in OT) and CMU (on the last play).
How Big is this game for Each Team?
Just like the Akron game this game is equally important for both team.
While UB has, arguably, the harder remaining conference schedule (BGSU, Ohio) a loss would (1) Practically eliminate them from the Division hunt and (2) make UB *have to* win out to get to a bowl.
WMU has an easier conference schedule (not that it matters too much I don't think anybody is going to catch the Chips) but they have an out of conference game, on the road, at Michigan State. A loss to UB, and later to MSU, would give the Bronco's *6* losses. I doubt that this year a 6-6 MAC team makes a bowl. Because of the MSU game in their schedule th Bronco's probably need this one more.