Zach Terrell passed for 242 yards and three touchdowns and freshman running back Jarvion Franklin rushed for a career-high 33 carries and 211 yards with three touchdowns as Western Michigan defeated Idaho 45-33 in front of 14,721 at the Kibbie Dome on Saturday evening.
Terrell finished the night just 10-for-15 with no interceptions and was sacked just one time after a stellar performance by the WMU offensive line. All 10 of his completions went to either Corey Davis or Daniel Braverman. Davis finished with five receptions for a season-best 119 yards and a touchdown, while Braverman had his second-straight 100 yard receiving game with five catches for 123 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively Grant DePalma and Devon Brant each had 10 tackles. Cleveland Smith finished with three sacks, all solos, for 23 yards loss. Jarell McKinney also had a sack and three tackles. Junior Ronald Zamort forced WMU’s first turnover of the season, an interception he returned 59 yards.
Overall the Broncos out-gained the Vandals 484-404 and did not commit a turnover.
After the WMU forced a three-and-out to open the game, Terrell found Davis in the flat and the reigning Mid-American Conference Freshman of the Year weaved his way through traffic and took it to the house from 61 yards out to give WMU an early 7-0 lead.
The Vandals struck on their next drive when quarterback Matt Linehan capped off a 17 play 75-yard drive with a seven-yard touchdown run. Idaho two third downs and a fourth down to keep the drive going.
Western Michigan responded with a long drive of its own to retake the lead, 14-7. Franklin rushed it in from the one-yard line for his fourth touchdown of the season. The Tinley Park, Ill., native racked up 35 yards on the drive, including a 26-yard burst to move the Broncos into the red zone.
Idaho drove down the field again but the Bronco defense held tough in the red zone to force a field goal from 17 yards out. The Vandals had first and 10 from the Bronco 11 yard line but DePalma stopped Jerrel Brown at the seven yard-line. The defense forced two incomplete passes to force the field goal and hold the lead 14-10.
WMU’s big-play offense kept on rolling as Terrell connected with Braverman for a 31-yard touchdown. Braverman was wide open at the 10 yard line and trotted in for his first career touchdown reception to give WMU a 21-10 lead. The touchdown was the second of the night for Terrell and it closed out a five-play 75 yard drive.
The Vandals responded with a big play of their own when Linehan found Richard Montgomery for a 61-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 21-17.
Terrell and Braverman connected again on the next drive, this time from 57 yards out. The Broncos had the ball on their own 43 with third-and-five. Terrell found the speedy wide receiver in the slot and Braverman made a few Vandals miss and took it to the house for a career-long touchdown reception.
After a long Idaho drive Zamort stepped in front of a Linehan pass and intercepted it, returning it 57 yards to the vandal 41. Two plays later Franklin broke off his second touchdown run of the game, this time from 39 yards out to give WMU a 35-17.
The Broncos went into the half with a 35-19 lead after a bad snap on a punt resulted in an Idaho safety.
WMU opened the third quarter with a 13-play 63 yard drive that resulted in Andrew Haldeman’s first field goal of the season. The Broncos rushed the ball 13 straight times to get the ball to the Idaho goal line before Haldeman split the up-rights to push the lead to 38-19. Dareyon Chance had three carries for 21 yards on the drive.
Franklin ran in his third touchdown of the night towards the end of the quarter, this time from seven yards out to give WMU a 45-26 lead.
Joshua McCain caught a 75 yard touchdown pass from Linehan with 2:38 but the Broncos were able to kill the remaining time and seal the victory, 45-33.
Western Michigan hosts Murray State on Saturday, Sept. 20 at 7 p.m. for CommUniverCity night.