MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (WOOD) — In a game full of offense, it was Western Michigan (3-0) who took advantage of the most big plays to defeat Central Michigan (2-1) 52-44 on Wednesday night in Mount Pleasant.
The Western Michigan Broncos scored 31 unanswered points in the first half, which propelled them to 600-plus yards game on offense.
Tim Lester is now 2-0 versus Jim McElwain in the rivalry matchup.
In a night where scoring wasn’t hard to find, the Central Michigan Chippewas were the team who started off hot.
On just the third play of the game, former Muskegon Big Red Kalil Pimpleton broke off a 65-yard touchdown strike on the ground. It came out of the wildcat formation that CMU used all night long.
Then after an interception from CMU’s George Douglas, Kobe Lewis would rumble across the goal line to make it 14-0 Chippewas. Just five minutes in, it was all maroon and gold.
For the rest of the half, it was the opposite.
A nine-play, 70-yard drive from WMU capped off by a quarterback keeper from Kaleb Eleby got WMU back within seven. From there, the Broncos would score 31 unanswered points in the first half, taking a 31-14 lead into the locker room.
It included two passing touchdowns from Eleby, one caught by D’Wayne Eskridge and the other by Jaylen Hall. Following the first two drives, the Chippewas could only muster 31 yards of offense in the remainder of the half.
In the second half, the Broncos just kept coming. They ripped off two huge plays to take away any life the Chippewas could create on offense. Both scores came from Eskridge, a 72-yard and 85-yard reception for the scores, his second and third touchdowns of the night.
CMU would answer with a Kobe Lewis 69-yard touchdown burst of his own, leading to a 45-30 score heading to the final quarter. The Chippewas needed some kind of stop from their defense, who had allowed 555 total yards through three frames.
Late in the game, the Chippewas would at least hold WMU to a field goal, leaving the score at 52-36 with less than four minutes to play. CMU would put together a quick drive and get a score from Drayton Law on an excellent toe tap touchdown from four yards out. CMU got the 2-point conversion to make the score 52-44 but couldn’t recover the onside kick. From there, the Broncos ran out the clock and brought the victory cannon back to Kalamazoo.
The Broncos finished the night with 628 yards of total offense. Of those yards, 322 came from Eskridge and Hall receiving alone with five scores. The Chippewas put together 406 yards of offense, but only forced three Bronco punts on the night.
This is now the third consecutive season the Broncos have won against CMU.
The Broncos return home next week to host Northern Illinois (0-3). The Chippewas go to Ypsilanti to take on their other in-state rival Eastern Michigan (0-3).