Broncos run past Eagles

Published 3:55 pm Sunday, November 14, 2010

KALAMAZOO —Western Michigan scored on all but four of its drives, beating cross-state rival Eastern Michigan, 45-30, Saturday at Waldo Stadium.

Redshirt freshman running back Brian Fields had a breakout afternoon, scoring three touchdowns and rushing for 107 yards. Sophomore quarterback Alex Carder recorded his fourth 300-plus yard game of the season.

Western Michigan never trailed in the contest, evening its Mid-American Conference record at 3-3 and improving to 4-6 overall. It was the third straight home win over Eastern Michigan.

Fields became the first Bronco to rush for over 100 yards this season, as WMU has showed steady improvement in its ground game. Western Michigan also got it done in the air, Carder racking up 349 yards, completing 17 of 21 passes (nearly 81 percent). Juan Nunez and Jordan White each had over 100 yards receiving. Nunez caught seven balls for 110 yards and two touchdowns. White finished with 110 yards on four receptions, one touchdown.

On the Broncos’ opening drive, Tevin Drake caught a pass from Carder and burst down the sidelines for 49 yards. Fields later scored his first TD with a nine-yard reception. Nunez made a made a shoestring catch in the middle of the field on the Broncos’ second drive for a 20-yard touchdown. EMU’s Alex Gillet cut the score to 14-7 at the end of the first quarter on a 32-yard quarterback keeper.

Western Michigan added 10 more points to its total in the second quarter. John Potter booted a season-long 39-yard field goal and Fields made a six-yard touchdown run to cap a 58-yard drive, all of which was picked up on the ground. Eastern Michigan scored two touchdowns of its own to make for a 24-21 halftime score in the Broncos’ favor.

WMU came up with a big defensive stance to open the second half, stopping Eastern Michigan at the three-yard line. The Eagles converted the field goal, briefly tying the score at 24-all.

Carder regained the lead for Western Michigan with a 33-yard touchdown toss to White with 6:30 remaining in the third. EMU followed with its final TD, but missed the PAT for a 31-30 count. The Broncos closed out the game scoring 14 unanswered points. Fields found the end zone for a third time at the beginning of the fourth quarter, this time on a 49-yard touchdown run.

On the first play of the next Bronco possession, Nunez hauled in a 66-yard touchdown pass from Carder. WMU carried the 45-30 lead until the end of the game.

Both Western Michigan (518) and Eastern Michigan (504) posted over 500 yards of total offense. Defensively, linebacker Mitch Zajac recorded a career-high 14 tackles, as well as a career-high two sacks. Mario Armstrong (12), Freddie Bishop (8), Johnnie Simon (6), Demetrius Pettway (5), CB Tronic Williams (4) also set or tied career-highs in tackles.

Western Michigan forced two fumbles and had two interceptions, its 12th straight game it has forced a turnover. Jamail Berry and Keith Dixson each had a pick.

Western Michigan hosts Kent State next Saturday, Nov. 20, at 2 p.m. and closes out the regular season at Bowling Green on Nov. 26.