Live blog: WMU is 13-0, MAC Champions
Butch Hampton made five field goals as the Broncos scored just six points in the second half, but hung on to beat Ohio in the MAC Championship at Ford Field, 29-23.
Zach Terrell and Corey Davis were cooking in the first half, but the Broncos settled for field goals on their first three scoring drives. Terrell was intercepted twice by a tough Ohio defense. He came into this game with just one interception on the season.
On the final drive, Ohio got into Bronco territory, but Robert Spillane intercepted Greg Windham with 51 seconds remaining to seal a 13-0 season for WMU.
The Broncos will have to wait and see how Navy does against Temple in the American Athletic Conference Championship game tomorrow. Should Navy win, they still have a game against Army next Saturday that could hold up the entire bowl selection process.
Davis had nine receptions for 155 yards and a touchdown.
Terrell was 20-for-32 for 301 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.
WMU adds a late field goal
Zach Terrell completed some passes early in the drive and the Broncos started to impose their will with the run game as it got into Ohio territory, killing almost six minutes of clock before settling for a 33-yard Butch Hampton field goal that makes it 29-23 with 1:24 remaining.
WMU had a third and six at the Ohio 15, but a false start penalty put it behind the chains and set up the field goal try.
Bobcats pull within a field goal
Ohio was just 19 yards from taking the lead halfway through the fourth quarter, but the Broncos defense was finally able to get off the field on third down and force a field goal, keeping a 26-23 lead with 7:14 left to play in the game.
Greg Windham completed two big third downs on the drive, one with his arm and one with his legs, before a third was given to the Bobcats on a questionable pass interference call.
Second half struggles continue for Broncos
After WMU and Ohio exchanged punts, the Broncos got it back in good field position at their own 43, but Zach Terrell threw his second interception of the night on the first play of the ensuing drive.
Terrell had just one interception coming into this game.
Bobcats pull within a score
Papi White made his second big grab of the night, a 31-yard touchdown reception from Greg Windham that has Ohio threatening to ruin the Broncos perfect season, cutting the WMU lead to 26-20 with 1:09 remaining in the third quarter.
Windham completed an 18-yard strike to Sebastian Smith to get into Bronco territory before reeling off an 11-yard run to set up the score.
Phillips return sets up fourth WMU field goal
After the WMU defense got a three and out, MAC Special Teams Player of the Year Darius Phillips returned the ensuing Ohio punt 43 yards down to the Bobcats 21, but the Broncos were forced to settle for their fourth field goal of the night, a 33-yard kick from Butch Hampton that makes it 26-13 with 3:28 left to play in the third quarter.
Bobcats get a big stop
The Broncos were working a masterful drive, running 10 plays to get across midfield, looking to get a touchdown and really put the death knell into the Bobcats. OU had other plans, coming up with back-to-back sacks, and now it appears we really do have a game on our hands after WMU failed to score on its first two possessions of the second half.
Broncos still lead, 23-13, with 6:38 to play in the third quarter.
Bobcats get a quick six to start second half
WMU had a chance to really put its foot on the throats of the Bobcats with possession to start the second half, but Zach Terrell's pass was tipped by Corey Davis and returned to the Broncos 5, where Greg Windham found Jordan Reid for a touchdown pass on the play to bull OU within 10 at 23-13 with 13:55 to play in the third quarter.
What a turn of events that is, but I wouldn't expect it to rattle the experienced Broncos squad and their senior quarterback.
Broncos strike before the half
After three consecutive punts were exchanged between the two teams, WMU got the ball back at its own 46 with 1:31 to play in the first half and took full advantage of its opportunity when Zach Terrell hit Carrington Thompson for an 8-yard touchdown that gave WMU a 23-7 lead with 36 seconds to play in the first half.
That's where things stand at halftime.
Michael Henry reeled in a 22-yard reception to get things started and Jarvion Franklin turned a screen pass into another first down. The Broncos were set back momentarily by a holding penalty, but Terrell hit Thompson for a 21-yard gain and a first down inside the 10.
Corey Davis had six first half receptions for 131 yards and a touchdown.
Terrell was 14-for-21 with 227 yards and two touchdowns.
The Broncos outgained Ohio, 270 to 107, in the first half.
Dynamic Duo strikes for WMU
Zach Terrell dropped back and hit his star wide receiver coming across the middle of the field and Corey Davis did the rest, outrunning all the defenders chasing him and taking it 70 yards to the house to give the Broncos a 16-7 lead with 7:49 to play in the first half.
That's the 50th time Terrell and Davis have hooked up for a score.
QB switch gives Ohio a spark
Greg Windham came off the bench to play quarterback for the Bobcats, hitting Papi White for 67 yards on the first play of the drive to get Ohio all the way down to the Bronco 6. WMU's defense was able to force a third and goal situation from the 8, but Windham hit Jordan Reid for a score that cuts the Bronco lead to 9-7 with 8:08 to play in the first half.
Windham came in after Quinton Maxwell was ineffective on the first three OU drives.
Broncos settle for another field goal
WMU drove 79 yards all the way to the Ohio 2, but Jamauri Bogan was forced backwards on third and short from the two and the Broncos again had to settle for a field goal, taking a 9-0 lead on Butch Hampton's 21-yard chip shot with 9:37 to play in the second quarter.
WMU came up short of the line to gain on third and short as the first quarter came to a close, leaving P.J. Fleck with a decision to make as the second quarter got under way. He decided to roll the dice, going with the jumbo package and Jamauri Bogan pick up the first down.
Bogan carried the ball nine times for 34 yards on the drive.
Bobcats gift wrap another field goal for WMU
Ohio fumbled the kickoff, giving the Broncos the ball 17 yard from pay dirt, but the offense again came up short of the end zone, instead settling for a 27-yard Butch Hampton field goal that gives WMU a 6-0 lead with 5:26 remaining in the first quarter.
Outside of one big play from Corey Davis, the Broncos offense has been mostly kept in check by a good Ohio defense that can thank its offense and special teams for putting it in such bad position here in the early going.
Broncos get on the board first
WMU looked to be in good position to puts some points on the board after forcing a three and out from the Bobcats offense and taking over at its own 47, but they weren't able to get the six they coveted, instead settling for a 42-yard field goal from Butch Hampton to take a 3-0 lead with 6:35 remaining in the first quarter.
Corey Davis turned a short pass into a 19-yard gain after shoving aside a defender to get the Broncos into OU territory. On third and six, Zach Terrell delivered a pass to Carrington Thompson that went off the receiver's hands and forced WMU to settle for three points.
Broncos can't take advantage of early fortune
The high-flying WMU offense found out that tonight might be a little tougher sledding than its become accustomed to. The Bobcats defense came out and stuffed two straight runs before Zach Terrell threw incomplete on third down.
Ohio will take over at its own 7 with 11:19 to play in the first quarter.
Bobcats fumble it away
Ohio made it very clear its game plan tonight against WMU, running the ball on its first four plays and even picking up a first down in the process. When quarterback Quinton Maxwell dropped back to pass on that fifth play, however, he fumbled the ball as he brought it back and the Broncos pounced, taking over the OU 33.
WMU looking to make history
The Broncos are looking to "Row The Boat" to their first conference championship since 1988 and a perfect 13-0 season. With quarterback Zach Terrell (30 TDs, 1 INT) and all-time FBS leading receiver in yards Corey Davis leading the way, WMU is favored by 16.5 over their counterparts from OU.
The Bobcats won the far less competitive Eastern Division of the MAC, but this is a team that definitely has a pulse coming into tonight's matchup. They've won four of their last five games and haven't given up more than 27 points to an opponent since their season opener against Texas State.
The Broncos, on the other hand, have scored 34 points or more in 11 consecutive games. Something is going to have to give.
WMU fans are expected to pack Ford Field tonight for a game that should set a MAC Championship game record for attendance.
WESTERN MICHIGAN VS. OHIO
Kickoff: 7 p.m., Friday, Ford Field, Detroit
Records: 13 Western Michigan 12-0, Ohio 8-4
Line: Western Michigan by 18
Here's Detroit News coverage of the WMU-Ohio game: