Community send-off set as WMU football team heads for Detroit

contact: Tonya Durlach
| WMU News
Photo of the 2016 WMU football team.

Send-off planned for 12:15 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1, on Michigan Avenue between Rose and Portage streets.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The No. 13 (AP) ranked Western Michigan University football Broncos are headed to Detroit for the Mid-American Conference Championship game Friday, Dec. 2, at Ford Field. To offer support and celebrate the team's perfect 12-0 record going into the conference championship, the community is holding a send-off Thursday, Dec. 1, in downtown Kalamazoo.

The WMU football team's motorcade is expected to pass through the central business district between 12:15 and 12:30 p.m. Fans are invited to line up along Michigan Avenue between Rose and Portage streets well before noon, dressed in their Bronco gear with signs and flags in hand.

"Head Coach P.J. Fleck and the WMU football program have brought immense pride to the greater Kalamazoo region during the 2016 season," says Greg Ayers, president and chief executive officer of Discover Kalamazoo. "Their performance on the gridiron and throughout the community has been exceptional. This is our opportunity to salute and wish the team well as they head to Detroit for the MAC Championship game."

A season of firsts

The 2016 season has been historic for the WMU football program. The Broncos defeated Toledo 55-35 Friday, Nov. 25, at Waldo Stadium to become the MAC West Division champions for the first time since 2000. During that game, senior wide receiver Corey Davis broke the Football Bowl Subdivision all-time career receiving record with 5,068 yards. He also became the first player in history with more than 5,000 yards, 300 receptions and 50 touchdowns. He holds the MAC record with 317 career receptions, and had the highest number of touchdown catches in the FBS this season with 17.

This fall brought about a number of other firsts for WMU, Kalamazoo and Bronco football.

  • Following an Oct. 1 win over arch-rival Central Michigan University, WMU was ranked in the USA Today Amway Coaches Poll for the first time in program history. Days later, WMU made its debut in the AP Top 25. The University would also go on to make its first appearance in the College Football Playoff rankings.
  • After a Nov. 1 win over Ball State, the Broncos improved to 9-0 and 5-0 in the MAC, surpassing the best start in program history.
  • A Nov. 8 win over Kent State marked the first 10-win season in the program's 108-year history.
  • ESPN College GameDay made a first-time stop in Kalamazoo Nov. 19 to do a pregame broadcast from the campus of WMU—just the second MAC school ever to be featured on College GameDay.

The WMU football Broncos, now 12-0 and 8-0 in the MAC, are ranked No. 13 in the AP Top 25, No. 14 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 17 in the CFP poll going into the championship game. They are one of just two undefeated teams left in the Division I FBS. The other is No. 1-ranked Alabama, also 12-0. WMU is vying for its first MAC Championship since 1988.

MAC Championship game

WMU, 2016 MAC Championship, Dec. 2, 7 p.m.

(Photo credit: WMU Division of Intercollegiate Athletics)

The WMU football Broncos will face the MAC East Division champs, the Ohio University Bobcats, in the 2016 Marathon MAC Championship game at 7 p.m. Friday, Dec. 2, at Ford Field in Detroit. Ohio is 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the MAC. Tickets are available for purchase through the Ford Field ticket office at fordfield.com. The game will be broadcast live on ESPN2.

For game and individual statistics, videos and interviews, visit wmubroncos.com.

For more news, arts and events, visit wmich.edu/news.

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