WMU football Broncos win MAC title

by Tonya Durlach
| WMU News
WMU Broncos, 2016 MAC football champions.

WMU Broncos are 2016 MAC football champions (Photo provided courtesy of the Mid-American Conference)

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The No. 13 (AP) ranked Western Michigan University football Broncos beat Ohio University 29-23 in the 2016 Marathon Mid-American Conference Championship game Friday, Dec. 2, to claim the MAC title for the first time in 28 years.

A record-breaking crowd of 45,615 gathered for the championship game at Ford Field in Detroit, with WMU fans filling an overwhelming majority of the stadium.

This is the school's fourth football conference championship and its first since 1988. Under the direction of coach Mike Gary, WMU championed the Michigan Collegiate Conference in 1929. In 1966, led by Bill Doolittle, the Broncos were named the co-division MAC champions, but did not go to a conference championship game. The 1988 team, coached by Al Molde, won WMU's only other outright MAC football title.

Standouts

  • Freshman kicker Butch Hampton made all five of his field goal attempts, the last of which was a 34-yarder that gave WMU a 29-23 lead with less than two minutes remaining in the game.
  • Senior wide receiver Corey Davis had eight catches for 144 yards, including a 70-yard touchdown reception in the second quarter.
  • Junior linebacker Robert Spillane had a team-high seven tackles, including the game-sealing interception with 51 seconds left on the clock.

Under the direction of head coach P.J. Fleck, the football Broncos recorded a perfect 13-0 season this year, and were nationally ranked for the first time in program history. Currently No. 13 in the AP Top 25, No. 14 in the USA Today Coaches Poll and No. 17 in the College Football Playoff poll, WMU is one of just two undefeated schools in the Division I Football Bowl Subdivision. The other is No. 1-ranked Alabama. Alabama is 12-0 and will play Florida in the Southeastern Conference Championship game.

WMU is now vying for a Group of Five spot in a New Year's Six bowl game. Bowl announcements are expected to be made around 2:30 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 4. WMU's Division of Intercollegiate Athletics is hosting a bowl announcement watch party at 1:30 p.m. Sunday in University Arena.

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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