2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The Western Michigan Offense
Find some new receivers for the good quarterbacks to work with. If everyone had come back – and were locks to stay on the offensive side – this might have been the Group of Five’s best receiving corps. But that’s not happening.
Jayden Reed is a devastating punt returners who led the team in receiving. He transferred out along with Keishawn Watson. The Broncos spread the ball around well, but they’ll have to rely on several young players, transfers, and prospects ready to do more.
Biggest Key To The Western Michigan Defense
Make more plays when the ball is in the air. The secondary has experience, it has a terrific group of safeties – at least, it’s a promising one – and there’s potential at corner as long as injuries don’t strike. But the big plays have to start coming.
The Broncos weren’t exactly bombed on – the allowed just two 300-yard games – but they were hit for close to nine yards per pass and didn’t pick off a pass in eight games.
Late in the season, Ball State’s Drew Plitt hit 81% of his throws in a stunning win over the Broncos, but that was just a sign of things to come with BYU’s Zach Wilson connecting on all 18 of his throws – averaging 17.6 yards per pass – in the bowl game win.
There’s some tweaking to do. Which is why …
Key Player To A Successful Season
CB Stefan Claiborne, Sr.
Is the 6-2, 190-pounder really a corner? Is he a safety? Is he a wide receiver? Whatever he is, he has to rise up and become an all-star factor after finishing fourth on the season with 56 tackles with four broken up passes … and no interceptions. He’s a good hitter who’ll play where needed, and WMU needs him to shine at corner after struggling last year. It’s worth giving him another shot … but he’s a safety.
Key Game To The Western Michigan Season
at Toledo, Oct. 5
The Northern Illinois game will be a huge deal for the MAC West, but that’s the season finale. Several weeks before that, Western Michigan has to travel to Toledo for a tone-setting moment for the season.
Last year, the Broncos got their doors blown off in a 51-24 loss, and in 2017 they were rocked by the Rockets 37-10. They can still win the West if they lose for a third straight season, but it’ll be a big mountain to climb.
– Western Michigan Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 Western Michigan Fun Stats
– Field Goals: Western Michigan 11-of-16 – Opponents 11-of-16
– Time of Possession: Western Michigan 33:37 – Opponents 26:23
– Sacks: Western Michigan 32 for 185 yards – Opponents 20 for 103 yards