Saturday, September 5, 2009

With State Watching, WMU Falls Flat at Michigan

by Emily Wolfram
Bronco Sports First

ANN ARBOR -- So much to discuss after the 31-7 Michigan win over Western Michigan Saturday.

And for the second time this season I was surprised at Head Coach Bill Cubit’s responses.

He was composed, even positive. “We’re going to be fine,” Cubit repeated again and again. By the end of the conference he even had me convinced that things weren’t as bad as they seemed.

Cubit explained that he was content with his defense’s performance and although they appeared to just lie down at times he felt it was more of a mild case of inexperience rather than lack of preparation.

Tim Hiller was not the man WMU expected him to be tonight. Perhaps on another day with a different performance he would have carried this team but today he looked physically exhausted and lacked the zip on his throws that he displayed a year ago.

Hiller’s numbers will tell you different. He was 22-of-38 for 259 yards with one TD and two interceptions. Most of those yards came in the second half and the majority of those in the third. Regardless of how you rate Hiller’s game today, he was without a doubt pressured all day. Which leads me to wonder where was this veteran offensive line? You know the ones with all the size, strength, and experience we keep hearing about?

Cubit said, “Were we over matched? I don’t think so. We’re just inexperienced.” That’s fine to say about the defense but why did no one address the reason for Hiller’s lack of comfort and pace in the pocket?

There is a lot that can be said either way. The offense was non-existent, both of the Broncos second year kickers were far from their best and the defense was, well, secondary to Michigan’s 439 yards. Of course the Broncos performance was far from superb but it did show some glimpses.

Running Back Brandon West didn’t rack up a lot of yards but he did hit the holes well on his 13 carries.

Cubit’s post-game outlook was a good reflection of the team’s attitude. The Broncos however didn’t let up, took their licks and carried themselves well on and off the field.

However, perceptions of Bronco football took a large hit today. There wasn’t much on the line in the grand scheme of things but the game was on National television and with the Rodriquez allegations, Michigan’s squad had to unite. U of M fans were watching to see if their “In Rod We Trust” banners were reusable. (Little brother) Michigan State fans had to see the outcome.

And all three in-state MAC schools had to see how the conference will handle Big Ten teams this season. The Broncos will need every one of the next seven days to learn from their mistakes in time to challenge Indiana, then again, Indiana isn’t Michigan.

Which…as we saw Saturday…is finally back.

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