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A day after its third consecutive loss — and its most crushing of the bunch — Western Michigan football has shaken things up, firing defensive coordinator Tim Daoust.

Head coach Tim Lester made the announcement Wednesday night, a day after the Broncos lost to Ball State, 42-41, in overtime on a failed two-point conversion attempt.

The Broncos' defense has struggled mightily all season, allowing an average of 34.5 points a game. That's 106th in the nation. Six times in 11 games, Western Michigan has allowed 39 or more points; three times, it has allowed 50 or more, including 55 to Syracuse, 51 to Toledo and 59 to Ohio.

“I appreciate Tim and his family’s dedication to the Bronco football family these past two seasons. At this time I felt we needed to go in a different direction,” Lester said in a statement Wednesday.

Lou Esposito, the defensive-line coach and co-defensive coordinator, will be the primary defensive coordinator the rest of the season. It's not clear if he will keep the job, by himself, beyond 2018.

Daoust was in his second stint on staff at Western Michigan, having been the defensive-line and secondary coach of the Broncos from 2006-09. He joined Lester at Western after a stint as Ball State's defensive coordinator.

Daoust also coached at Syracuse (defensive ends), Central Michigan (defensive line), Illinois (cornerbacks), Cincinnati (graduate assistant) and Northern Illinois (graduate assistant).

The Broncos (6-5, 4-3 Mid-American Conference) started the season 6-2, but things have gone really bad since they became bowl-eligible — not that they're guaranteed a bowl bid. They had six wins last season, too, but were left out of the bowl picture. Western's regular-season finale is Tuesday at home against Northern Illinois.

On Tuesday, on the road, Ball State scored a touchdown in overtime, then Western Michigan answered. But rather than kick the tying extra point, Lester decided to go for two. After a timeout, the Broncos' rush up the middle went nowhere, and sent the Broncos on an unhappy bus trip back to Kalamazoo.

The loss guaranteed Northern Illinois the division championship and a spot in the MAC championship game at Ford Field this month. Buffalo seems like the likely opponent, with a two-game lead in the MAC East.

Lester is 12-11 in two seasons at Western after taking over for P.J. Fleck, who left for Minnesota after leading the Broncos to the Cotton Bowl.

Daoust is the second major coaching departure during Lester's tenure as head coach. Kevin Johns left after one season as co-offensive coordinator to take the offensive-coordinator job at Texas Tech.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

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