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Offensive miscues costly for Broncos in MAC opener

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Western Michigan QB Tyler Van Tubbergen awaits the snap against the Toledo Rockets. September 29, 2012 at Waldo Stadium.
Western Michigan QB Tyler Van Tubbergen awaits the snap against the Toledo Rockets. September 29, 2012 at Waldo Stadium.

Note: For in game WMU score updates, text BRONCOS to 80373

KALAMAZOO (1660 THE FAN) – In a re-match of last year’s record 66-63 shootout in Toledo, the Rockets scored early and often Saturday night, topping Western Michigan at Waldo Stadium 37-17.

Click here to watch the postgame press conference.

Making his first start since November 25, 2011, junior quarterback Tyler VanTubbergen failed to complete a pass in the opening quarter. His struggles set the tone for WMU’s offense that finished with four turnovers in the game, including three interceptions.

On a night that the offensive game plan was in need of the run, the Bronco rushing attack finished with 173 yards on 30 attempts, but struggled to finish in short third-down situations. WMU finished 9-17 on third down conversions.

After the game, Coach Cubit said, “that played a factor in choosing whether to run or pass on third down, and you like to have that option.”

Toledo took their opening drive 67 yards on eight plays to start their scoring on a David Fluellen six yard rush. Fluellen carved up the Bronco defense for 213 yards on 21 carries. He added a 53 yard score in the first, and found the end zone again in the third from 22 yards out.

VanTubbergen hooked up with Jaime Wilson in the second quarter from 22 yards out to get the Broncos on the board, but they were already in a 20 point hole. 

The third quarter was a bright spot for the Broncos. A WMU punt turned into two points for Western when Donald Celiscar tackled Dwight Macon in the end zone, pulling the score to 20-9. Following a pair of Toledo touchdowns, Brian Fields added a highlight-reel score of his own, breaking free for a 48-yard rushing touchdown. The score was the longest rushing touchdown for the team this season.

The loss breaks Western’s consecutive home winning streak, which dated back to 2010. They will look to start a new streak next Saturday hosting UMass for Homecoming. 

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