WMU News

Defense keys 23-10 Bronco win

Sept. 30, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- WMU's football Broncos overcame five turnovers on the strength of its defense, strong running by Robert Sanford and three field goals by Brad Selent to defeat Ohio, 23-10, at Waldo Stadium on Saturday afternoon (Sept. 30).

The Broncos improved to 4-1 overall and remained perfect, 2-0, in the Mid-American Conference.

Selent kicked the first of his three field goals on the Broncos' second possession of the game to give WMU the only points of the first quarter and a 3-0 lead. For the afternoon, Selent was perfect on field goals and extra point attempts, kicking field goals of 42, 32 and 44 yards.

A fumble by quarterback Jeff Welsh, his second of the game, led to Ohio's only points of the first half. The defense held the Ohio Bobcats to a field goal, and the two teams went to the locker room at halftime tied, 3-3.

Western Michigan gave away the ball on five occasions with three fumbles and two interceptions. The offense also lost an excellent opportunity for a touchdown in the fourth quarter when wide receiver Steve Neal was tagged with a personal foul that resulted in a loss of down and 15 yards. Instead of a touchdown, the Broncos settled for the third of Selent's field goals and a 16-10 lead.

Defensive end Marty Herig made his second big play in as many weeks with a fumble recovery on Ohio's next drive. Herig returned an interception for a touchdown to seal the previous weekend's victory over Toledo. Against the Bobcats, his fumble recovery set up the Broncos at Ohio's 44 yard line. Five plays later, Robert Sanford was in the end zone on a nine-yard run that sealed this week's win, 23-10.

"A team almost never wins when it has five turnovers," said coach Gary Darnell. "Credit our defense. I think you saw as fine a defensive effort as you've ever seen in this stadium."

Quarterback Jeff Welsh completed 23 of 33 passes for 332 yards and one touchdown. Steve Neal led the receivers with seven receptions for 113 yards. Josh Bush had five catches for 64 yards and his first touchdown of the season.

Corey Alston caught three for 64 yards, including a 46 yard catch and run in the second quarter. Tight end Mobolaji "Mo" Afariogan was especially effective in the fourth quarter and caught five balls for 57 yards.

Robert Sanford had 124 yards on 22 carries and one touchdown. He passed the 3,000-yard mark for his career and became the third-leading rusher all time for Western Michigan University. Charles Woods also carried the ball five times for 25 yards in Saturday's win.

The Broncos had 470 yards in total offense and held Ohio, the conference's No. 1 offense, to just 293 yards.

Western Michigan is in action again on Thursday night, Oct. 5, when they travel to Marshall for a rematch of last year's MAC championship game. That game will be nationally televised on ESPN beginning at 8 p.m. Eastern Time.

               1st  2nd  3rd  4th   Final 
WMU Broncos      3    0   10   10     23 
Ohio             0    3    7    0     10

Attendance: 21,412

For more information, visit the Broncos on the Web at <wmubroncos.com>.

Media contact: Daniel Jankowski, 616 387-4122; daniel.jankowski@wmich.edu

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