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Unbeaten Western Michigan outlasts Eastern

Rich Rezler
Associated Press

Kalamazoo, Mich. — Zach Terrell threw for 398 yards and three touchdowns and No. 20 Western Michigan had 569 yards of total offense in a 45-31 victory over Eastern Michigan on Saturday.

Carrington Thompson had eight catches for 177 yards and two touchdowns, and Jarvion Franklin ran for 114 yards and a touchdown for the Broncos (8-0, 4-0 Mid-American). The game was the first at home as a nationally ranked team in school history.

With Eastern Michigan’s strong defensive line limiting Western Michigan to 163 rushing yards, more than 100 yards below its season average, the Broncos needed Terrell’s career-high passing performance.

“It doesn’t matter who gets the stats. Last week, Jarvion ran for 281, this week we passed for 398,” Terrell said. “It doesn’t matter. That’s the thing about this program and the guys we have on it, there’s a selfless nature.”

Eastern Michigan (5-3, 2-2) capitalized on a pair of turnovers to take a 17-14 lead with 3:35 left in the first half, the first time the Broncos have trailed at Waldo Stadium this season.

Western Michigan answered with two scoring drives in the final minutes, aided by Obbie Jackson’s interception. Terrell made it 31-17 when he hit Thompson for an 8-yard touchdown pass on the Broncos’ first possession of the third quarter.

“I was so proud of our team’s resolve, especially at the end of the half,” Western Michigan coach P.J. Fleck said. “Down 17-14, they score 10 points in 2 minutes and flip it just like that. Talk about clock management and being poised and calm in situations. Very proud of them.”

Terrell’s 31-yard touchdown pass to Corey Davis late in the third quarter pushed the Broncos past the 40-point mark for the fifth consecutive game. Davis had five receptions for 87 yards.

Eastern Michigan’s Brogan Roback threw for 319 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score. Breck Turner ran for 86 yards and a touchdown.

The 23,721 fans at 30,200-capacity Waldo Stadium likely didn’t expect (nor necessarily want) to be treated to a close game. The Broncos’ defense allowed more than 450 yards, but the offense had more than enough firepower to save the day.

The Eagles’ bid to become bowl eligible for the first time since 1995 must wait another week. Hanging tough with the Broncos shows that their resurgence — they’ve already matched their win total for the last three seasons combined — may be no fluke.