Western Michigan Players To Watch For Against BYU

Dec 2, 2018, 7:14 PM

LeVante Bellamy #2 of the Western Michigan Broncos runs the ball during the game against the Michig...

LeVante Bellamy #2 of the Western Michigan Broncos runs the ball during the game against the Michigan Wolverines at Michigan Stadium on September 8, 2018 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. (Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

(Photo by Rey Del Rio/Getty Images)

PROVO, Utah – The BYU Cougars will face Western Michigan, a team that they played a lot from 1962-70 but haven’t matched up since. They will face each other on December 21 in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.

This will mark the sixth meeting between these two teams with BYU holding a 3-2 record over the Broncos.

In 1962, BYU lost to Western Michigan on the road 28-20 before winning the next three with a 43-8 win in Provo in 1964, a 44-19 win at home and a 17-7 victory on the road in 1968. The Broncos won the last meeting 35-17 at home in 1970.

This will be Western Michigan’s fourth bowl game in the last five seasons. Since 2003, they have gone to six bowl games and have a 1-5 record.

Their only win was in 2015 when they beat Middle Tennessee State in the Bahamas Bowl.

In 2016, they had a historic season going 13-0 in the regular season including the MAC Championship. They lost to No. 8 Wisconsin in the Cotton Bowl 24-16.

They will make their second appearance in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The first time was in 2014 when they lost to Air Force.

Western Michigan 2018 Season

The Broncos finished with a 7-5 record overall and 5-3 in the MAC which was good for a second place tie with Eastern Michigan and Toledo in the west division. Northern Illinois won the division and the conference title.

It was a tough start to the season with two consecutive losses to Syracuse and Michigan by a combined 59 points.

They bounced back by winning six straight with wins over Delaware State, Georgia State, Miami (OH), Eastern Michigan, Bowling Green and Central Michigan.

They lost their next three to Toledo, Ohio and Ball State before beating Northern Illinois in their regular season finale.

Western Michigan is coached by Tim Lester, who is in his second season at the helm.

Broncos Offense

Junior quarterback Jon Wassink was the starter for most of the season before he injured his foot and had to have surgery. Before the injury, he compiled 1,994 yards, 16 touchdowns and 6 interceptions.

They turned to freshman quarterback Kaleb Eleby as he threw for 917 yards, 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in four games played.

Western Michigan has two running backs that they rely on to carry their offense. Junior LeVante Bellamy leads the team in rushing yards with 1,172 to go with six touchdowns.

Senior Jamauri Bogan is the rushing touchdowns leader with 15 to go with his 702 yards on the ground.

Their wide receivers feature two players with over 700 yards in freshman Jayden Reed with 797 and 8 touchdowns while junior D’Wayne Eskridge added 715 yards and three touchdowns.

The Broncos offensive line is solid as they have allowed 17 sacks which ranks No. 27 in country.

Western Michigan Defense

Their tackle leaders are a duo of linebackers in Drake Spears with 82 and Alex Grace with 80. Sophomore defensive lineman Ali Fayad has seven sacks to lead the Broncos to go with four forced fumbles and one recovery.

Western Michigan has only seven interceptions led by Juwan Dowels and Curtis Anton with two apiece.

As a team, the Broncos have forced 19 turnovers.

BYU and Western Michigan will face each other in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl. The game will take place at Albertson’s Stadium in Boise, Idaho on Friday, December 21 at 2 p.m. and will be broadcast on ESPN and KSL News Radio.

  • BYU Cougars Scoreboard

  • BYU Cougars Team Leaders

  • BYU Cougars Standings

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Western Michigan Players To Watch For Against BYU