The 2011 Western Michigan football season made us all feel like we were on a roller coaster ride. Expectations were much higher in Kalamazoo for this team, as the Broncos finished 7-5 and 3rd in the MAC West, right where many expects had them projected pre-season. We saw some great accomplishment from the team and individuals, while other moments left us shaking our heads. This team could even be argued as the best team in school history with a win over Purdue in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. Regardless of the outcome, the one thing this Bronco team did do was keep us entertainment. Here’s a look back at the top 10 best moments for the 2011 Western Michigan Football Team.
Top 10 Best Moments
10. Opening drive at Michigan: After watching this team practice for 4 weeks during camp, we were all excited to see what this team could do against Michigan. What we saw on the opening drive of the game was one of the best put together drives we would see all season. The Broncos moved methodically down the field compiling a 15 play, 71 yard drive, and taking over 7 minutes off the clock. Alex Carder went 8 for 8, with 4 passes going to Jordan White, and Antoin Scriven capped off the drive with a 1 yard TD.
9. John Potter breaks MAC PAT record: With 9 PAT’s against Toledo, John Potter became the MACs all-time leader in consecutive PATs made with 114. Potter has since extended that streak to 128. The Third Team All MAC pick also holds the Bronco record for most tackles by a kicker with 35 and led the MAC in scoring by a kicker this year.
8. Homecoming: Offensively, homecoming against Bowling Green was the most well rounded game of the season. This would be the only time all season the Broncos would have a 100 yard rusher as Tevin Drake finished with 112. Alex Carder had 212 yards passing and 3 touchdowns and nearly gained 100 yards on the ground himself, finishing just 5 yards short of the century mark. This win put the Broncos at 4-2 and had the team feeling as if they were unstoppable.
7. Chleb Ravenell scoring the game winning touchdown against UConn: Ravenell was one of 3 Broncos to finish with over 100’s receiving. But it was Ravenell’s 2nd TD of the game that was the most important. Ravenell scored on a 41 yard pass from Carder with 1:35 left to put the Broncos up 38-31 over the defending Big East Champs. Carder finished with what was at the time a school record 481 yards and 5 touchdowns.
6. Tyler VanTubbergen against Akron: If Alex Carder would have thrown for 252 yards, 6 touchdowns on 19-21 passing, no one would have been too surprised. But the fact it was his back up Tyler Vantubbergen which made people disbelieve the stats. VanTubbergen looked like a seasoned vet during his first career start. He also had a rushing touchdown and 60 yards rushing. Akron’s defense was one of the worst in the country this year, so the question remains, what type of numbers would Carder have put up had he been healthy?
5. Carder and White at Toledo: Anytime you score 63 points you’d think you would have won. Against Toledo, Western did just that but allowed 66 to the Rockets. However, Alex Carder threw for school records 548 yards and 7 touchdowns, while Jordan White tied the record with 16 receptions and 3 touchdowns.
4. Drew Nowak wins MAC Defensive Player of the Year: For the first time since Ameer Ismail in 2006, a Western Michigan player took home the MAC Defensive POTY. Nowak finished 3rd on the team in tackles and led the MAC in sacks with 8.5.
3a. Jordan White becomes the all-time leader in receptions in Bronco history: White’s 9th reception against during the Broncos final drive against Ball State moved him into first place as the all-time receptions leader in school history passing Jamarko Simmons. The Broncos ended up defeating Ball State 45-35, moving them 1 game away from becoming bowl eligible.
3b. Jordan White named first consensus All-American in Bronco history: White was named an AP (3rd team), Walter Camp (2nd Team), and AFCA All-American making him the first player from Western Michigan to make all 3 lists.
2. Broncos invited to Little Caesar’s Bowl: It’s not the MAC championship but it might as well be. Prior to the team banquet it was announced that the Broncos would take on Purdue in the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl. This was the best case scenario for Western after failing to make it to the MAC Championship game. Many believe that had Western not been invited to the Little Caesar’s Pizza Bowl, that the Broncos would have passed on a bowl game altogether
1. Beating Central for the first time in 5 years: Enough said!
Future 1: If the Broncos get their firs even bowl win after defeating Purdue that would become the top moment of the year.