The Western Michigan Broncos have sputtered out of the gate to start their 2013 season. In week one, the Broncos lost a hard fought battle with the Michigan State Spartans 26-13. Last week at home, the Broncos gave up two fourth quarter field goals to the Nichols State Colonels and fell 27-23. In order to get back on track and salvage their season, the Broncos must travel to Evanston, Ill. to challenge the No. 17 ranked Northwestern Wildcats.
The Broncos must try and contain the explosive Wildcats offense this weekend. Northwestern is averaging 337 passing yards per game and has scored over 40 points in both of theirs wins this season (44 vs. Cal Bears and 48 vs. Syracuse Orange). The Wildcats have two very good quarterbacks in Trevor Siemian and Kain Colter. Northwestern head coach Pat Fitzgerald utilizes both effectively, with Siemian a better passer and Colter a better runner. The Wildcats have a balanced attack averaging 207.5 rushing yards per game. The Broncos must play aggressive against the run on Saturday and shut down running back Treyvon Green. He leads the Wildcats with 195 rushing yards and three touchdowns. Green is a threat to go the distance every time he touches the football averaging 6.7 yards per carry.
Offensively, the Broncos must exploit a Wildcat defense giving up 28.5 points per game. If the Broncos are to pull off the upset this weekend, they will need to exploit the Wildcat secondary. The Wildcats are yielding an astounding 378 passing yards per game. The stage is set for Broncos senior quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen to break out of his recent slump. Van Tubbergen is completing 47.6 percent of his passes with no touchdowns and four interceptions. In order to take the pressure off of Van Tubbergen, the Broncos will need to run the football. Ranked 91st in the nation in rushing offense (121 rushing yards per game), the Broncos have to turn up the intensity on the offensive line. Senior Dareyon Chance leads the team with 132 yards rushing and will need to find running lanes against the Wildcats speedy front four.
If Western Michigan can cut down on turnovers, they have an opportunity to play with Northwestern. In two games this season, the Broncos are a -2 in turnover margin. Northwestern, on the other hand, has been very opportunistic with a +4 in turnover margin.
Game time is set for 9:00 p.m. EST at Northwestern Ryan Field.