Behind Enemy Lines: Q&A with Western Michigan beat writer Robert Tomlinson
Central Michigan Life's Evan Petzold spoke with Western Michigan beat writer Robert Tomlinson from the Western Herald to preview Central Michigan's 3 p.m. game on Oct. 20 against the Broncos at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
Western Michigan is 5-2 this season, riding a five-game winning streak. Head coach Tim Lester's group has Mid-American Conference wins against Miami (Ohio), Eastern Michigan and Bowling Green. The Broncos are a 5-point favorite against the Chippewas.
Tomlinson discussed Western Michigan's high-powered offense, star running backs LeVante Bellamy and Jamauri Bogan and how WMU can beat CMU in this exclusive Q&A.
Central Michigan Life: Western Michigan is ranked No. 26 in the nation in total offense, averaging 36.6 points per game. What makes WMU's offense so special?
"They still have a really good run game with junior LeVante Bellamy and fifth-year senior Jamauri Bogan. Junior quarterback Jon Wassink has improved. Wide receiver Jayden Reed has been a breakout star on offense. He already has more touchdowns than Corey Davis did his freshman year, so there's a lot of hype around him. Western Michigan has won five in a row, so that's special as well.
"Wassink has 16 touchdowns and a passer rating around 150. His accuracy has improved, so his overall game is better. He can control the ball as well.
"Having Bellamy and Bogan really makes opposing teams wonder if they are going to run or pass the ball. Bogan is the thunder, and Bellamy is the lighting. Bogan is more of a short-back guy, but both players have their own skill set."
Allowing 31 points per game, what is there to know about Western Michigan's defense?
"The defense has been a bit of a question so far this season. All three MAC games have been decided by one score or less. When the defense is on, they can make something happen. Junior Justin Tranquill is good at safety and junior defensive back Anton Curtis had a couple of interceptions against Bowling Green."
How does Western Michigan come to Mount Pleasant and return to Kalamazoo with a rivalry win in hand this weekend?
"For one, they have to keep Central Michigan off the board. Western Michigan needs to play disciplined football, which has been one of their biggest bugaboos. Against Bowling Green, they only had five. WMU had 10 against Eastern and nine against Miami (Ohio). If they can limit penalties, they will be good to go.
"On offense, Wassink needs to take care of the football. If WMU can limit the turnovers, the team will be alright."
If there's one player that might surprise people on Saturday, who is it?
"D'Wayne Eskridge is a really good wide receiver. He had a really nice one-handed catch against Eastern Michigan. He can really do some good things, along with Jayden Reed. Both of those guys are going to be pivotal in Western Michigan getting a win this week."
Western Michigan 30, Central Michigan 21