Kalamazoo – Snow and wind did little to prevent Zach Terrell from having a career game to lead No. 14 Western Michigan to a 38-0 victory over Buffalo Saturday afternoon at Waldo Stadium.
WMU fans were treated to ESPN “College GameDay” in the morning with thousands braving the cold to take in the festivities.
Then, Terrell and the Broncos treated the crowd of 26,136 to a dominating win over Buffalo to set up a showdown with Toledo (9-2, 6-1) Friday in Kalamazoo with the West Division title and spot in the MAC championship game on the line.
Terrell completed 29-of-37 for a career-high 445 yards and four TDs. WMU piled up 626 total yards and had 11 plays of 20 or more yards.
Senior receiver Corey Davis had 13 receptions for 173 yards and two TDs. He is closing in on becoming the first player in FBS history to have 300 receptions, 5,000 yards and 50 TDs. He now has 310 catches for 4,987 yards and 49 TDs.
“Wow, 11-and-0,” said Terrell, who started on a 1-11 team his freshman year, and improved to break WMU’s career passing record with 11,461 yards, topping the former mark held by Tim Hiller (11,329, 2005, ’07-09). “What a win. The defense, another shutout, second of the year and those are tough to do.
"Offense, I’d say it was a gritty performance, not ideal conditions, but just keep your oars in the water and keep fighting. I’m really, really proud of the offensive line. They did a heck of a job today protecting me, also opening holes for the running backs and the wideouts doing what they do.”
Davis was also a record-setter on Saturday, becoming the WMU all-time reception leader with 310, putting him past Jordan White’s MAC-record total of 306 when he played for the Broncos (2007, ’09-11).
“I wasn’t aware of that,” Davis said. “It’s definitely a blessing. I thank God every day for the talents that he’s blessed me with. He’s blessed me with a phenomenal team and a great coach who took a chance on me.”
WMU (11-0, 7-0) earned its second shutout of the season. It was the most shutouts in a season for the Broncos since the 2000 season when they last competed in the MAC title game, posting three shutouts that year.
“How about that ‘GameDay’ atmosphere today?” said WMU coach P.J. Fleck. “That was outstanding. I think today showed the power of Kalamazoo. It showed our strength. It showed our courage.”
The Broncos started out slowly, first getting stopped on fourth-and-1 at the Buffalo 27 in the opening quarter, then having Carrington Thompson drop a third-down pass in the second quarter near midfield in a scoreless game.
The Broncos shook off the slow start when Terrell directed a 69-yard scoring drive, connecting on all four of his passes, capped off with a 22-yard TD toss to Davis, who grabbed the pass on a slant route, made a move at the 16 and reached the end zone with 8:16 left in the half.
Terrell again was at the top of his game late in the half, finding Michael Henry for 40 yards to set up a 20-yard TD pass to Jarvion Franklin with 2:08 left in the half.
The Broncos took command after Terrell led them on a four-play, 95-yard drive to open up a 24-0 cushion with 5:42 left in the third.
Terrell threw his third TD pass of the game, a toss in the left flat to Henry, who turned it into a 65-yard TD, the longest pass reception of his career.
Terrell’s fourth TD throw came when he lofted a seven-yard pass into the left corner of the end zone to Davis, who hauled it in while being interfered with on the play.
Buffalo (2-9, 1-6 East) was limited to 268 total yards with senior defensive end Keion Adams standing out with six tackles, three for lost yardage while also forcing a fumble.
Terrell was thrilled that WMU gained the exposure from “GameDay.”
“We had so much tragedy with the offseason,” Terrell said. “With a lot of the community work I do and a lot of these guys do, Corey does, we really felt it. We knew this season, it was kind of a rebuilding in terms of rebuilding the community back together. And, to bring the pride and all the energy back to Kalamazoo, it's been so much fun to watch.
"We were 1-and-11 just a short time ago (2013) and now we’re 11-0 and ‘GameDay’ was here. Just to feel the energy and the pride with the alumni, students and everybody, this is so special to be a part of and I feel so fortunate and blessed that God’s given me this opportunity and I don’t take it lightly.”