Game Week: Western Michigan

Will he or won't he? - Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

Game Week: Western Michigan

The Teams:

Western Michigan is annually selected as a team that will compete for the west and typically they tend to fall short of that. In part because the Western side of the MAC is a much more competitive division. But under Bill Cubit has also had a bad run of luck.

Take this season for example. Against UConn, in what could have been a signature win to propel the Bronco's into conference play, Western Michigan lost Alex Carder. When you lose a player like Carder those close games, like the ones played against Ball State and Northern Illinois, become that much harder.

The brace is off of Carders hand and he could be back any week. Western Michigan sits at 4-6, with games against Buffalo and EMU. Without Carder these are winnable games, with him they could roll into a bowl as an underestimated 6-6 team.

Buffalo on the other hand is playing for next year. After Toledo handed UB their seventh loss of the season Buffalo finally got their act together against Miami. While their last second win over the RedHawks is too little too late for 2012 the performance of UB's back up Quarterback, Joe Licata, may foreshadow an interesting off season competition.

Conf National Buffalo Category WMU National Conf
6 34 193.22 Rushing Offense 157.8 67 8
10 100 189 Passing Offense 287.4 29 2
10 77 382.22 Total Offense 445.2 37 5
11 99 21.11 Scoring Offense 30.5 51 6
7 84 181.44 Rushing Defense 149.9 52 4
9 80 135.89 Pass Eff Defense 132.47 66 6
3 49 379.33 Total Defense 392.9 58 5
7 85 30.89 Scoring Defense 29.8 79 6
12 117 32.24 Net Punting 34 108 10
11 109 3.27 Punt Returns 11.18 30 5
9 96 18.94 Kickoff Returns 19.6 85 8
12 117 -1.33 Turnover Margin -0.8 104 10
3 26 197.89 Pass Defense 243 66 6
12 111 110.23 Passing Efficiency 127.95 73 8
3 33 2.44 Sacks 2.2 49 5
4 52 6 Tackles For Loss 5.6 62 5
9 57 1.78 Sacks Allowed 1.5 44 6

The Players

Whoever lines up behind center the Bulls will depend on Branden Oliver to fire up the offense. If it's Licata that means using the run to set up play action passes. If Alex Zordich is back that means more read options.

Oliver missed four and a half games this season and is still well positioned to run for a thousand yards. In full games played Oliver averages 162 yards on the ground and 5.8 yards per carry. While Devin Campbell did an adequate job it just was not the same offense without Oliver.

Western Michigan needs Alex Carder back if they want to have any post season success. Like Buffalo's Campbell the Bronco's backup Tyler Van Tubbergen has played pretty well but he is trying to fill a set of shoes for someone who is about the best the conference has to offer.

Conf National Actual Buffalo Category WMU Actual National Conf
13 55.67 Alex Zordich Rushing Dareyon Chance 83 52 11
16 41 Devin Campbell Brian Fields 35.9 18
12 109.15 Alex Zordich Passing Eff Tyler VanTubbergen 130.19 66 8
8 85 195 Alex Zordich Total Offense Tyler VanTubbergen 192.2 88 9
8 T-63 5.12 Alex Neutz Receptions PG Jaime Wilson 6.67 T-21 T-3
25 3.14 Devon Hughes Josh Schaffer 4.2 T-14
4 26 88.38 Alex Neutz Receiving Yards PG Jaime Wilson 79.78 42 6
T-24 0.14 Adam Redden Interceptions Lewis Toler 0.3 T-67 5
12 90 34.39 Tyler Grassman Punting J. Schroeder 42.17 40 3
Punt Returns Jaime Wilson 13.6 13 1
Kickoff Returns Brian Fields 22.35 62 8
8 T-71 0.89 Patrick Clarke Field Goals Andrew Haldeman 0.6 100 11
T-12 6.75 Alex Neutz Scoring Andrew Haldeman 5.5 18
20 88.38 Alex Neutz All-Purpose Runners Jaime Wilson 102.67 92 14
24 75.11 Devin Campbell Dareyon Chance 97.6 17
7 T-58 0.56 Khalil Mack Sacks Deauntay Legrier 0.45 T-99 12
T-9 T-78 0.5 Colby Way Desmond Bozeman 0.4 T-14
13 0.44 Lee Skinner Paul Hazel 0.4 T-14
16 0.39 Steven Means Freddie Bishop 0.3 20
13 79 8.12 Khalil Mack Tackles Johnnie Simon 8.8 54 9
T-21 7 Lee Skinner Justin Currie 8.4 70 12
2 T-9 1.75 Khalil Mack Tackles For Loss Travonte Boles 0.8 13
12 0.83 Colby Way Freddie Bishop 0.75 T-17

The History

Buffalo did not play Western Michigan until UB joined the MAC in 1999. And since then it's been a very one way series but the Bronco's have needed overtime to top the Bulls durint the last two contests.

Date UB WMU
10/24/2009 @ Western Michigan 31 34
10/11/2008 vs. Western Michigan 28 34
10/1/2005 @ Western Michigan 21 31
10/5/2002 vs. Western Michigan 17 31
10/16/1999 @ Western Michigan 17 45
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