Roundin' up the Herd

Bulls, Broncos face off on senior day

By JOE KONZE JR
On November 9, 2012

  • ohnnie Simon (3) and Western Michigan come to town this weekend to take on the Bulls, who are coming off an emotional 27-24 win over Miami Ohio last weekend. Courtesy of GS Photo

The football team is coming off an exciting win against Miami Ohio (4-5, 3-2 Mid-American Conference), and this weekend marks the last home game for some players on the roster.

The Bulls (2-7, 1-4 MAC) will say goodbye to their seniors as they look to continue their winning streak against Western Michigan (4-6, 2-4 MAC) Saturday at UB Stadium.

Redshirt freshman quarterback Joe Licata took over for the Bulls in place of injured junior Alex Zordich last week. Licata led the Bulls to a 27-24 victory, which was highlighted by a last-second field goal.

Western Michigan is coming off a win over Central Michigan (3-6, 1-4 MAC), 42-31, in which the Broncos snapped a three-game losing streak. They are only two wins away from being bowl eligible for the third consecutive season.

Last time they met: Oct. 24, 2009, Western Michigan won 34-31 at home in overtime. The Broncos have a record of 5-0 in their last five meetings against the Bulls.

Players to watch:

QB Tyler Van Tubbergen:After highly touted junior quarterback Alex Carder went down with a hand injury two games into the season, the Broncos turned to back up Van Tubergen. So far this season, he's had no problem stepping into the starter role. He has completed 159 passes on 261 attempts for 1,825 yards, 15 touchdowns and 11 interceptions. The Bulls will have to be able to close down the passing lanes by pressuring Van Tubbergen if they plan on winning this game.

WR Jaime Wilson:The freshman wide out has been a favorite target for Western Michigan quarterbacks this season. Wilson has grabbed 60 receptions for 718 yards and six touchdowns while averaging 12 yards per catch. Wilson can catch almost anything thrown his way and is able to make difficult catches with a defender on him. The Bulls will need to keep a close eye on him and keep his elusiveness in check.

S Johnnie Simon:The Broncos' defense ranks fifth in the MAC, having given up 1,499 rushing yards and 2,430 passing yards. Junior safety Simon is just 12 tackles shy of back-to-back 100-tackle seasons. Smith has 88 tackles on the season - 43 solo, 45 assisted - and is averaging 8.8 per game. Look for him to provide some pop in the secondary.

He said it: "Buffalo is consistent, and the only game [I] saw they struggled on was with NIU, but who doesn't struggle with them?" - Western Michigan head coach Bill Cubit

Matchup to watch: Buffalo's pass defense vs. Western Michigan's pass offense. Western Michigan is ranked No. 2 in passing offense, completing 256 passes on 423 attempts with 23 touchdowns. The Bulls' passing defense is ranked third in the MAC in pass defense, only allowing 132 completions and 13 touchdowns on 233 attempts.

Prediction:The Bulls will be able to run the ball effectively with junior running back Branden Oliver, but Western Michigan will have no problem through the air.

 

Western Michigan 34, Buffalo 21

 

Email: sports@ubspectrum.com


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