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(Saturday, November 17)
Final Score: Eastern Michigan 29, Western Michigan 23
Kalamazoo, MI (Sports Network) - Tyler Benz paced the Eagles with two touchdown passes to help Eastern Michigan pick up a 29-23 victory over Western Michigan in Mid-American Conference action at Waldo Stadium.
Benz finished with 137 yards on 13-of-21 passing without an interception as EMU (2-9, 1-6 MAC) ended a three-game losing slide and finally notched its first win in conference action. Bronson Hill rushed 17 times for 77 yards on the ground and also caught three passes for 59 receiving yards. Former starting quarterback Alex Gillett contributed in numerous ways as he carried the ball nine times for 60 rushing yards, made five receptions for 45 yards with a touchdown, and completed a 37-yard pass on his only throw. Bryan Pali and Alex Bellfy both made 10 tackles to tie for the team-lead. Bellfy also recovered a fumble.
In his final game playing for the Broncos (4-8, 2-6), senior quarterback Alex Carder completed 29-of-50 attempts for 328 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. Justin Collins made a game-high nine receptions for 101 yards and a score while Jaime Wilson reeled in seven passes for 74 yards. Dareyon Chance tallied 69 yards on just 10 carries to pace WMU's rushing attack. Devon Brant anchored the defensive unit with 15 total stops.
The Eagles built momentum early on and took a 14-0 lead in the opening quarter with a pair of nicely executed scoring drives. First, EMU drove 50 yards on 10 plays to set up a three-yard touchdown run by Dominique Sherrer. It then added another touchdown at the 3:46 mark of the first frame when Benz found Donald Scott in the end zone on a five-yard pass play.
WMU took over and put together an impressive drive of its own that carried over into the opening moments of the second quarter. Carder finished off a 10-play, 65-yard drive and put the Broncos on the board with a one-yard touchdown pass to Blake Hammond.
The Eagles took over and drove down the field and into their opponent's red zone once again. WMU stood its ground which forced the Eagles to settle for a 22-yard field goal by Dylan Mulder.
The Broncos' defensive unit stepped up once again before the intermission as it stopped EMU on 4th-and-four to give their offense the ball back at the Eagles' 25-yard line. Carder found Collins in the end zone on the next play from scrimmage which narrowed WMU's deficit to 17-14 as the game progressed into halftime.
Andrew Haldeman evened the score on WMU's first drive of the second half with a 37-yard field goal. The tie did not last very long as Mulder drilled a field goal from 43 yards out to put EMU back up, 20-17, with nine minutes left in the third quarter. Gillett then gave the Eagles some insurance by reeling in an eight-yard touchdown catch from his former understudy. Mulder missed the extra point attempt, but the Eagles still took a 26-17 lead into the final period of play.
The in-state rivals traded field goals in the fourth quarter. Haldeman chipped a kick in from 19 yards out at the 7:59 mark to cut the deficit to six points. However, Mulder made it a two possession game with only 2:33 left before the final gun with a 34-yard kick through the uprights. The Broncos drove all the way to EMU's 10-yard line late in the game, but settled for another Haldeman field goal, this one from 28 yards away, to make it a six-point game. Western Michigan's comeback effort and 2012 season ended when Haldeman's onside kick was scooped by the Eagles.
Despite the loss, WMU outgained the Eagles in total yards of offense, 443-369.
11/17 20:23:21 ET
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