WMU News

Broncos control their own destiny

Oct. 22, 2000

KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's football and volleyball teams combined for three big wins during WMU Homecoming weekend (Oct. 20-21), and each team now controls its own destiny in its bid for a Mid-American Conference championship and post-season competition.

Football Broncos win 52-22 at Homecoming

Coach Gary Darnell's football team recorded a huge 52-22 victory on Saturday (Oct. 21) over the Northern Illinois Huskies [game summary]. With the win, Western Michigan improved to 4-0 in the MAC and 6-1 overall, the team's best start since the 1988 MAC championship season.

Coming into the contest, the Huskies were the only other undefeated team in MAC competition. With Saturday's victory, the Broncos find themselves in the enviable position of having "a game to give." WMU can lose any one of its three remaining contests against MAC West opponents and still clinch the division title and a berth in the conference championship game.

Saturday's Homecoming win was celebrated by 27,523 fans in Waldo Stadium.

Western Michigan travels to Kent State next Saturday, Oct. 28. Kent plays in the MAC East, and the outcome of that game will have little affect on the Broncos' championship hopes. This year, the all-important division titles in the Mid-American Conference are based on competition within the division.

WMU is 2-0 in the MAC West, with wins against the other top contenders in the division, Toledo and Northern Illinois. The Broncos complete the season with three games against teams in the lower half of the division standings. WMU travels to Ball State, Nov. 4, and to Central Michigan, Nov. 11. The football team plays its only remaining home contest on Nov. 18 in a 1 p.m. start against Eastern Michigan.

Volleyball Broncos improve to 9-1 MAC

WMU swept two volleyball matches on Homecoming weekend to improve to 14-5 overall and 9-1 in the MAC. Western Michigan defeated Toledo, 3-0, [match summary] on Friday (Oct. 20) and Akron, 3-0, [match summary] on Saturday (Oct. 21). Crowds at the two contests totaled 1,479 fans, as the Broncos continue to lead the MAC in attendance for the third straight season.

The Broncos extended their winning streak to eight matches. Coincidentally, the string began with a 3-0 win at Akron on Sept. 29. WMU is undefeated, 4-0, in MAC home matches this season, and since 1996, the Broncos are 8-0 in University Arena on Homecoming weekend.

Western Michigan's two victories, combined with a 3-2 loss by Ball State at Northern Illinois on Friday, leave the two teams tied for first place in the conference with 9-1 records.

The only MAC loss this season for coach Cathy George's team came at the hands of Ball State in a match played in Muncie, Ind., at the beginning of the MAC schedule. The Broncos can avenge that loss and earn the top seed in the conference tournament when Ball State visits University Arena on Friday, Nov. 17, but home court throughout the tournament will depend on much more than just beating Ball State.

Western Michigan has eight matches remaining in regular season and may need to win all eight to secure the league's best record.

The Broncos play five more regular season contests in Kalamazoo, beginning with a 7 p.m. match versus Buffalo on Friday, Oct. 27. Immediately after that contest, Western Michigan travels to DeKalb, Ill., on Saturday, Oct. 28, for its first of two meetings this season with Northern Illinois. Since NIU rejoined the MAC, in 1997, the Broncos have defeated the Huskies only one time and are 0-4 in matches played at Northern Illinois.

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

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

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