Western topples HofstraPublished 9:09am Monday, September 28, 2009
KALAMAZOO – Tim Hiller completed 34-of-43 passes for 338 yards and two touchdowns for his 13th career 300-yard game as Western Michigan defeated Hofstra, 24-10, in front of 16,116 at Waldo Stadium on Education Day.
Junior wide receiver Jordan White caught nine balls for a career-high 101 yards and one touchdown, while junior wide receiver Chleb Ravenell added career highs of seven catches and 99 yards for the Broncos (2-2) against the Pride (2-2).
Senior Brandon West carried the ball 25 times for 128 yards and one touchdown to earn the 10th 100-yard rushing day of his career.
Overall, the Broncos compiled 471 total yards, while holding Hofstra to 329 yards, including just 141 yards of total offense and no points in the second half.
Senior linebacker Austin Pritchard led the defense with 10 tackles, including nine solo, and one sack, while sophomore safety Vernon Stewart had a career-high eight tackles in his first career start.
The Pride received the opening kickoff after Western Michigan won the coin toss and chose to defer. Hofstra advanced to the WMU 42 before the drive halted. Hofstra punted the ball into the end zone, allowing WMU to begin its first drive of the game at the 20-yard line.
The Broncos steadily drove the ball downfield with Brandon West accounting for 31 yards on the ground and via completion, while junior wideout Ravenell made a 22-yard catch over the middle to advance WMU to the Hofstra 23. The Broncos advanced inside the five, but West was stopped for a loss on a sweep to the right on fourth-and-one to give the ball back to the Pride after a 13-play, 77-yard drive.
The Pride advanced out of the shadow of their own end zone to their 33, before Pritchard burst through for a sack on second down and Justin Braska teamed with Josh Price for a sack on third down.
The Broncos started at their own 26 after the Hofstra punt, but Hiller was intecepted by strong safety Ray McDonough on a deep third down pass over the middle and two players later, Hofstra capitalized.
Cory Christopher threw the ball into the right flat to junior wide receiver Aaron Weaver, who juked one receiver and received one key block to get clear as he raced down the sideline for a 43-yard touchdown on the second-longest play from scrimmage this season gave Hofstra the lead, 7-0, at the end of the opening quarter.
The Broncos reached the Hofstra 37 on their first drive of the second quarter before being forced to punt. Ben Armer uncorked a high floater that was downed at the Hofstra two. WMU’s defense capitalized on the first play as junior strong safety Jamail Berry forced a fumble that senior defensive tackle Cody Cielenski recovered at the Hofstra eight.
Western Michigan couldn’t capitalize as Ravenell was stopped on a slant pattern at the one-yard line and WMU was called for a false start on fourth down at the one. The Broncos called on John Potter after the penalty and he converted from 24 yards out on the left hash to put WMU on the board, 7-3, with 11:23 to go in the opening half.
Hofstra responded with a 37-yard completion to Weaver on the next drive to advance to the WMU five-yard line. Two plays later, backup quarterback Steve Probst went around right end for a touchdown, but the play was disallowed after an illegal shift by the Pride. The Broncos kept Hofstra out of the end zone on the next two plays and forced them to settle for Henry Greco’s 23-yard field goal, 10-3, with 5:09 to go in the half.
Hiller took over the remainder of the half as he led a pair of touchdown drives. On the first drive, Hiller completed all four of his passes for 74 yards to even the score on a 16-yard strike over the middle to Jordan White. The touchdown was the first for White since Oct. 20, 2007 against Ball State.
The Broncos stopped the Pride and got the ball back with 2:11 to play and 94 yards in front of them. Hiller rushed for 11 yards on the first play from scrimmage and then completed six consecutive passes for 74 yards, including 34 yards to Juan Nunez, to set up West’s nine-yard touchdown run up the middle that gave WMU the lead, 17-10, with 38 seconds to play in the half. WMU had 282 yards of total offense in the first half, as Hiller completed 20-of-26 passes for 228 yards. Ravenell had five catches for 8- yards in the opening half, while White had six grabs for 56 yards and one score. The defense held Hofstra to 188 yards of offense in the first two quarters.
The third quarter was a stalemate as WMU turned the ball over twice on fumbles and Hofstra gave the ball back once with a fumble of its own. The only legitimate scoring opportunity was hatched by the Pride after they recovered WMU’s second fumble on the Bronco 46. Hofstra advanced to the WMU 22, but lost four yards on third-and-one after fumbling and Greco missed the subsequent 43-yard field goal wide left.
The Broncos put the game away on their first drive of the fourth quarter as West rambled 30 yards to the Hofstra 16 and Hiller completed all seven of his throws, including a one-yard touchdown toss to tight end Matt Stevens, to put WMU up two scores, 24-10, with just over nine minutes remaining in the game.
The Pride mounted one last rally on the ensuing drive, but Deshon Lawrence broke up a fourth down pass to end the threat and WMU held the ball for the final 5:52 to close out their Colonial Athletic Association counterparts.
Hofstra was led by quarterback Cory Christopher with 188 yards and one score on 17-of-27 passing, while Weaver had eight catches, 109 yards and one touchdown. Kwabena Asante led the ground attack with 50 yards on 10 carries. Defensively, linebackers Greg Melendez and Basim Hudeen added 12 and 10 stops, respectively.
The Broncos resume conference play next weekend when they head to DeKalb, Ill., for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff against Northern Illinois (2-2, 0-0 MAC)