Broncos fall to Nicholls 27-23Published 9:09am Sunday, September 8, 2013
KALAMAZOO – Western Michigan fell in the 2013 Bronco football home-opener Saturday night, suffering a 27-23 loss to Nicholls in front of a crowd of 24,163 at Waldo Stadium.
Western Michigan got behind 14-0 in the first quarter and trailed 21-9 at halftime. The Broncos held the Colonels to just two field goals the rest of the game, but fell short offensively.
Senior running back Brian Fields ran for three touchdowns and 111 yards, while fellow senior Dareyon Chance rushed for 126 yards. Fields became the first Bronco running back to record three rushing touchdowns in a game since Brandon West accomplished the feat against Toledo in 2009. It was Chance’s fifth career 100-yard rushing game and the third for Fields.
Senior quarterback Tyler Van Tubbergen got the start under center, returning to the field this week after making an early exit due to injury in the season-opener last week at Michigan State. He completed 24 of 43 passes and was intercepted twice.
Nicholls starting quarterback Kalen Henderson was carted off the field with just over a minute left in the first half and did not return to the game. He rushed for 87 yards, one touchdown, and was 8-for-11 passing for 159 yards in the air. Tuskani Figaro replaced Henderson and threw for 55 yards and ran for another 74.
Defensively, Western Michigan was led by senior linebacker Johnie Simon with a team-high 11 tackles. Senior linebacker Kyle Lark registered 10.
Nicholls took a 14-0 lead in the first quarter behind an eight-yard touchdown run by Marcus Washington and a one-yard Henderson keeper. The Broncos broke onto the scoreboard with 13:41 left in the second quarter on a 42-yard field goal by Andrew Haldeman, his first field goal of the season.
Western Michigan then put together an eight-play, 72-yard drive, capped by a two-yard Fields touchdown with 6:53 left in the half. The snap on the PAT was bobbled and the Broncos only came away with six, cutting the deficit to 14-9.
The Broncos followed the drive with a perfectly executed on-side kick, catching the Colonels off guard. Freshman Corey Davis made the recovery, smothering the ball at the WMU 48-yard line. It would go down as a missed opportunity however, as Van Tubbergen was picked off three plays later.
On the first play after the interception, Nicholls’ Erik Buchanan hauled in a 42-yard pass and was tackled at WMU’s four-yard line. Washington punched the ball in on the ground to put the score at 21-9 in Nicholls’ favor.
Fields opened the third quarter with his second touchdown of the game, a 13-yard run, as Western Michigan pulled within five, 21-16. Fields found the end zone for a third time in the game, a nine-yard run, with 3:13 left in the third to give WMU its first lead of the game, 23-21.
Two fourth-quarter field goals put Nicholls back in front, 27-23.
Western Michigan had a final drive with 1:44 remaining, but an interception at the goal line by Josh Dewey with 33 seconds left sealed the win for the Colonels (1-1-0).
Dowagiac freshman Brett Scanlon kicked the ball off four times for the Broncos with an aveage of 61.8 yards per boot.
Western Michigan (0-2-0) is on the road against Big Ten opponents the next two weekends, traveling to No. 19 Northwestern Sept. 14 and Iowa Sept. 21. The matchup against Northwestern will be aired on the Big Ten Network.