Red zone struggles, defensive woes cripple football team in loss to WMU
The Central Michigan offense had more than 500 yards of total offense Saturday, but all the talk after the game was about its miscues.
The offense moved the ball deep into Western Michigan territory for the first three possessions of the game, but dropped passes and a blocked field goal held them to only six points. Not capitalizing on touchdowns was what head coach Dan Enos and senior quarterback Ryan Radcliff harped on after the game.
“The stats are all very similar; we each had a turnover,” Enos said. “We just didn’t capitalize in the red zone, and they had about two more (big) plays than we did.”
Radcliff threw for 383 yards and a touchdown but had two more touchdown passes dropped by sophomore wide receiver Titus Davis.
“We can’t be kicking field goals instead of scoring touchdowns,” Radcliff said. “Anytime we can get points, that’s great, but, especially games like this, you have to get in the end zone.”
It wasn’t just the failure to score that cost CMU. Sophomore wide receiver Courtney Williams fumbled on a kick return with 2:26 left in the game down by five.
“I thought our guys played with great effort, and there was an unfortunate fumble on the kickoff,” Enos said. “We would have had the ball on the 50-yard line, first-and-10. We were moving the ball and felt good.”
Enos didn’t put all the blame on the offense's inability to score touchdowns, pointing out the defensive issues, too.
“We are still not where we need to be on defense,” he said. “They had 500 yards of offense and scored 40 points. So, when you get in games and we’re scoring 31 points, 38 points, 34 points, we’ve got to start winning some of these games.
“That’s the frustrating part, because when our defense was playing well, they’re pretty good. But we have too many lapses, and we gave up too many explosive plays."
WMU particularly scored at will in the fourth quarter. The Broncos scored a touchdown on each of the four possessions they had in the last 15 minutes.
Radcliff said while it is frustrating having to score a lot of points to win, the offense didn’t put the defense in good positions.
“It's disappointing; we had opportunities and didn’t score,” Radcliff said. “In a game like this, a big rivalry game, it's going to come down to the little fine details, and we didn’t do them.”