COLUMN: It's great to leave CMU as sports editor, it's better with a win over Western
As the final seconds ticked off the clock, I looked around the press box wondering what just happened.
The Central Michigan football team had defeated Western Michigan for the first time since 2013 — the first time during my four years at Central Michigan University.
Trailing by 14 points with eight minutes remaining, both teams were going through the motions on offense as rain continued to pour down Nov. 1 at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo.
My game story was ready to go. I began to prepare for the long drive back to Mount Pleasant, once again disappointed.
But after the Chippewas forced a late fumble, everything changed.
A fire sparked in CMU I had never seen before.
Sophomore running back Jonathan Ward scored two plays later to make it a one-score game. Then the Chippewas got a stop on defense and blocked WMU’s punt.
Graduate transfer quarterback Shane Morris found senior wide receiver Eric Cooper for the tying touchdown three plays later.
CMU then did the unthinkable. It pulled off a surprise onside kick on the Broncos to get the ball back with a chance to win.
After both teams punted, the Chippewas got the ball back once again on their own 23-yard line. CMU wasted no time. On the first play Morris wound back and found senior wide receiver Corey Willis for the 77-yard game-winning score.
It was over. CMU had finally beaten WMU again.
Walking through the tunnel after the game, you could see just how much the victory meant to the players, coaches and family members. People hugged and tears were shed.
I couldn’t help but smile. As reporters, we are supposed to be neutral when it comes to our reporting and being on the school newspaper is supposed to be no different than if I were reporting for USA Today or some large-scale news outlet.
But at the end of the day, we are just as much Chippewas as any other students. And deep down, we root for our teams and hope they succeed.
I grew up loving football and became a fan of CMU’s program during the days of Dan LeFevour and Antonio Brown. Since coming here and working for Central Michigan Life, my appreciation has grown even further after forming relationships with players and coaches.
WMU has had CMU’s number since P.J. Fleck took over and “rowed the boat” over the Chippewas each of the last three seasons.
With my graduation coming in a mere six weeks, I wondered if I would look back on my time at CMU and not be able to brag about the time we “whopped the Broncos”, just like I hear the alumni talk about each year at homecoming.
When the final seconds ticked off and the score board went final, my doubts went away and my sense of school pride had never been higher.
The Broncos were defeated and the Victory Cannon was finally returning to Mount Pleasant.