Central Michigan Preview

CMU Week

The Western Michigan University football team closes its 2003 campaign this Saturday (Nov. 23) against arch-rival Central Michigan University in a Mid-American Conference game kicking off at 1:00 p.m. from Kelly/Shorts Stadium in Mount Pleasant, Mich. WMU dropped a 42-21 decision to Toledo last Saturday (Nov. 16) in the Broncos' home finale.

Western Michigan's struggles in Mount Pleasant through the years are well documented. The Broncos are 0-11-1 at Kelly/Shorts Stadium since their last victory in 1973. Ten of the 12 games have been decided by 10 points or less. Three times WMU has led by as many as 14 points, only to see CMU rally for a victory. On five occasions, the Broncos have lost fourth quarter leads. The home team in this series has won in the last eight encounters dating to 1994. The Broncos lead the series 40-30-2, which does not include a CMU win over WMU's club team in 1905.


Nov. 17, 2001 * Kalamazoo, Mich.
Robert Menchinger's 23-yard field goal with no time left in regulation lifted Western Michigan to a 20-17 victory over Central Michigan in a MAC game played before 23,112 fans in Waldo Stadium and a regional cable audience on FOX Sports Net. The Chippewas had tied the game just a minute earlier, when Derek Gorney found Rob Turner from seven yards out on a fourth down play that left just 58 seconds on the clock. Both teams relied on their ground attacks, especially later in the game as a heavy fog rolled into Waldo Stadium. WMU's Philip Reed rushed for 154 yards while CMU TB Terrence Jackson amassed 153 yards. WMU took a 7-0 lead into halftime on Joe Ballard's blocked punt that was recovered in the end zone by Jason Babin. The Broncos' other points came on a 34-yard field goal from Menchinger and a one-yard dash by Reed early in the fourth quarter.


Junior WS Jason Feldpausch capped an eventful week on Saturday. On Thursday, he was named to the Verizon Academic All-District IV Football First Team, just one of 24 Division I players selected from a district comprised of Alabama, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee. A computer business major with a 3.32 overall GPA, Feldpausch scored his first career touchdown in the Toledo game, stripping the ball from a UT ball carrier and returning the fumble 59 yards into the end zone. The forced fumble was Feldpausch's fifth of the season, which leads the MAC. He is one shy of the school season record which was matched by teammate Bryan Lape last season.


RB Philip Reed is just six yards shy of 1,000 yards on the season. Should he reach the milestone Saturday at Central Michigan, WMU would have its fifth 1,000-yard rusher in six seasons under Gary Darnell. Robert Sanford accomplished the feat three times (1997, 1999, 2000) and Darnell Fields once (1998). Reed, who didn't turn in his first 100-yard game until week five, has averaged just 18 carries a game and battled through various ailments during his career-best season.


Western Michigan will hold it's annual season-ending awards banquet on Wednesday, Dec. 11, at the Radisson Plaza Hotel in downtown Kalamazoo. Tickets may be purchased through the WMU Athletic Corporate Relations Office at (269) 387-3062.


Junior DE Jason Babin has tied the school record for tackles for loss in a season (23), shared by Joel Smeenge (1989). Babin also tied a WMU season record with his second blocked kick on Saturday, getting a piece of his second punt this year * junior Chad Munson can join some elite company with 61 more passing yards, which would give him 2,000 on the season. Five Bronco quarterbacks have surpassed 2,000 passing yards a total of 10 times (Tim Lester-4, Brad Tayles-2, Jay McDonagh-2, Tony Kimbrough-1, Jeff Welsh-1). Munson's 14 touchdown passes have tied the 10th-best season performance in school annals * C Jake Gasaway graded at a near-perfect 98 percent Saturday while the offensive line didn't allow a sack for the second time this season * senior TE Mobolaji Afariogun recently recorded his 100th career reception and surpassed 1,000 career receiving yards. He needs two more touchdown catches to tie the school career record among tight ends (13), currently held by Jake Moreland * WR Jermaine Lewis has started every game of his career at WMU, a three-year streak running 34 consecutive games on both sides of the football * Lewis and Afariogun have one game left in their collegiate careers following this Saturday, as both have been invited to the Jan. 25 Paradise Bowl all-star game in St. George, Utah * despite a 3-8 overall record, the Broncos rank third in total defense (346.3 ypg) among 14 MAC schools and second in pass defense (188.8 ypg) * WMU's 22-member senior class finished with a four-year record of 15-6 at Waldo Stadium.


"Toledo dominated play for a majority of the game. We had them on their heels for a little bit, but that was about it. How we do things as a program needs to have a little bit stronger focus in our approach to the game. We were knocked out early in the game and fell behind."


"It's one of the more unique rivalries in that they've had so much success at their place. It's one of two rivalries I've been involved with where team records really don't count."


Central Michigan began the season 3-0, but have since lost seven of eight games. TB Robbie Mixon has put together a solid senior season, rushing for 1,355 yards (5.4 avg.), which ranks third in the conference. Mixon, who had 700 combined yards his first three years, rumbled for 377 against Eastern Michigan on Nov. 2. The Chips have rushed the ball 60 percent of the time this year, and when they have gone through the air, QB Derrick Vickers (55.3%, 1,794 yards, 9 TDs) has found a reliable target in WR Rob Turner, whose 41 receptions and 495 yards easily lead the team. On defense, the Chippewas are especially tough against the run, yielding only 139.8 yards per game, the third best average in the MAC. Junior LB Jovan Clarke is just nine tackles shy of 100 on the season as CMU's leading tackler. Sophomore James King, who blocked eight kicks last year, ranks second in team tackles (89) from the safety position. Coach Mike DeBord's team is a disciplined bunch, averaging only 39.3 penalty yards a game, the lowest in the MAC.

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