WMU News

Bronco defense mauls Marshall

Oct. 5, 2000

HUNTINGTON, W. Va. -- WMU's football Broncos ended Marshall's 33-game home winning streak with a 30-10 victory on Thursday night (Oct. 5) in front of a national television audience.

The Broncos improved to 5-1 overall and remained perfect, 3-0, in the Mid-American Conference. Marshall fell to 2-3 overall, 1-1 MAC. The loss was Marshall's first on their home field since 1995 and only their third to a MAC opponent since rejoining the conference in 1997.

Marshall took an early 3-0 lead on their second possession of the game, but the Broncos responded on their next possession with a touchdown pass from quarterback Jeff Welsh to Josh Bush. The score capped a six-play, 80-yard drive and gave WMU a 7-3 lead.

Neither team was able to score in the second quarter. The Bronco defense stopped Marshall twice on fourth down with one-yard-to-go, ending Marshall's final two possessions of the half. Throughout the game, Western Michigan harassed, hurried and sacked Marshall quarterback Bryon Leftwich.

"Two weeks in a row," said WMU coach Gary Darnell, "our defense has played the top offensive teams in our conference -- one the top rushing team and the other the top passing team -- and essentially shut them out."

Western Michigan's Robert Sanford rushed for 203 yards on 26 carries and scored three second-half touchdowns. Charles Woods rushed nine times for 43 yards, as the Broncos used the combination of Sanford and Woods to take control in the second half.

A 32-yard punt return by Bush set up a four-play, 22-yard drive for Western Michigan, capped by a one-yard run from Sanford. That score moved WMU ahead 14-3 early in the third quarter. On the next series, Brad Selent connected on a field goal to give the Broncos a 17-3 lead at the end of three periods.

The Broncos used seven running plays and two passing plays to score on a 50-yard drive early in the fourth quarter. Sanford again scored from one-yard out, giving WMU a 24-3 lead.

The Bronco defense again stopped Marshall on downs inside the Western "red zone," but a short punt set up Marshall at the WMU 25-yard line on the next series. Leftwich found Nate Poole near the goal line for a 10-yard touchdown pass and run for Marshall.

With 6:02 remaining in the contest, and Marshall threatening another score, Ronald "Bo" Rogers intercepted Leftwich in the end zone. Sanford capped the ensuing 80-yard drive with a 39-yard TD run. Sanford's third touchdown sealed the 30-10 win. It also moved Sanford to third on the WMU career scoring list with 32 touchdowns.

Jeff Welsh completed 12 of 22 passes for 121 yards. His favorite targets were Steve Neal, who caught four for 41 yards, Mobolaji Afariogun, two catches for 22 yards, and Josh Bush, two for 20 yards and a touchdown.

Western Michigan is in action next on Saturday, Oct. 21, when they host MAC West opponent Northern Illinois at WMU Homecoming. Kickoff is at 1 p.m.

               1st  2nd  3rd  4th   Final 
WMU Broncos      7    0   10   13     30 
Marshall         3    0    0    7     10

Attendance: 27,109

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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