Football aims to end losing streak to WMU; will face freshman quarterback

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Junior defensive back Amari Coleman attempts to block a pass during the football game against Western Michigan University on Oct. 1, 2016 in Kelly/Shorts Stadium.

Central Michigan football will face a new quarterback when it takes on Western Michigan. 

WMU quarterback Jon Wassink suffered a broken collarbone in the fourth quarter against Eastern Michigan on Oct. 21. 

Backup freshman quarterback Reece Goddard proved up to the challenge, however, as he led the Broncos to a 20-17 win in overtime. 

Before his injury, Wassink led the conference in passing efficiency and finished the EMU game completing 16-for-24 passes for 190 yards and a touchdown.  

CMU (4-4, 2-2 in Mid-American Conference) takes on rival WMU (5-3, 3-1 in MAC) at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 1 at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo. The game will be aired on ESPN2. 

Head coach John Bonamego said Wassink’s injury won't affect the game plan too greatly, but knows the different skillset that Goddard offers. 

“(Goddard’s) a different style of player,” Bonamego said. “He’s coming into a situation where he has a lot of talent around him with an excellent offensive line two of the better (running) backs in our conference.”

First-year WMU head coach Tim Lester said the Broncos can still efficiently run the offense without Wassink. 

“(Goddard) is going to go out there and make a play, run around a little bit and make some throws that everyone’s going to say, ‘Wow’ and you might say ‘Oh no” too sometimes, but that’s the exciting part,” Lester said. 

Lester noted Goddard gives the offense some running ability from the quarterback position — something Wassink did not offer at the position. 

In his brief stint against EMU, Goddard tallied 20 yards rushing and two completions for 12 yards. 

CMU’s spread offense was in full form against Ball State on Oct. 21. The Chippewas scored seven offensive touchdowns in a 56-9 rout. 

CMU is sixth in the MAC in scoring offense (25.8 points per game) while WMU is third (36.2). The two rivals sit eighth and ninth in scoring defense in the MAC. 

Chippewas' graduate transfer quarterback Shane Morris is third in the conference in passing yards per game with 245.8. WMU's Jon Wassink was seventh with 176.4. 

Last season, WMU crushed CMU in Kelly/Shorts Stadium, 49-10.  

“That is what they do,” Bonamego said. “They are built to run the football and play defense. That’s been (WMU’s) formula for winning this year.”

The Broncos have dominated the rivalry in recent years. WMU has won five of the last six games and the last three in the series. However, those wins came under former head coach P.J. Fleck, who is now at Minnesota. 

After practice on Oct. 25, Bonamego left the team with a few words to explain the importance of the rivalry game. 

“You have to understand the importance of this game,” Bonamego said. “It’s one to remember. It’s bigger than you.”

Bonamego didn’t mention the words “Western Michigan” during his post-practice interiew.

“There’s not really (an unwritten rule,") Bonamego said. "I just don’t like to say it.”

The Chippewas and Broncos first met in 1907 and WMU leads the all-time series 48-37-2. The teams compete for the victory cannon trophy, which represents the cannon shot at both Kelly/Shorts Stadium and Waldo Stadium.