Sept. 4, 1999
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- Early in the third quarter, Western Michigan University pulled to within five points (31-26) of the Florida Gators, but Florida scored 24 unanswered second-half points to demonstrate why the Gators are nationally ranked No. 4. Quarterback Tim Lester and the Bronco air attack were spectacular throughout the 55-26 season-opening loss.
Lester completed 24 of 38 passes for 405 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Wide receiver Steve Neal caught eight passes for 166 yards and two touchdowns.
Florida's defense was never able to stop the Broncos' "big-play" passing game. Micah Zuhl had six catches for 110 yards, and Corey Alston caught four passes for 105 yards, including one catch for a two-point conversion.
Florida's offense scored on its first two possessions. The WMU defense was tenacious, but was unable to stop the high-powered Gator attack, which had 289 rushing yards and 335 yards passing.
The Broncos had three interceptions to stop Florida drives. Eric Nunlee returned one interception 60 yards for a touchdown that cut the Florida's lead to 28-20 in the second quarter.
It was not a great evening for the WMU running game. Robert Sanford was held to 42 yards in 13 attempts, and the Broncos had just five yards net rushing for the game. The Broncos' outstanding place kicker, Brad Selent, also had an off night. He was 0-1 on field goals (31-yard attempt) and on PATs.
The Broncos played before a crowd of 85,322 in "The Swamp," the largest audience ever to see a WMU football team.
WMU will host Youngstown State at 6 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, in the annual CommUniverCity Night game. A crowd rivaling last season's WMU and MAC record crowd of 35,107 is expected at Waldo Stadium for the home opener.
Media contact:Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4122; firstname.lastname@example.org
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