Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Western Michigan young, but ready for CMU

By Anthony Fenech, Senior Reporter || November 3, 2010

Bill Cubit knows he has a young team.

The Western Michigan football coach knows that later this week, when his team arrives in Mount Pleasant, many in the group will be stepping foot into enemy territory for the first time.

“We have so many kids that haven’t been in this rivalry,” he said. “Our biggest thing is just preparing and not getting caught up early in the week on the little things.”

Like beating Central Michigan for the first time in four years. Or doing it on the road. Or coming into the rivalry game with a better record and as possibly as the favorite.

“They’ll get the gist of it when they walk off of the bus on Friday,” he said.

The Broncos are in an unfamiliar position. For the previous four years, they have been an afterthought in the rivalry. Now, thanks to a young and energetic starting quarterback and on the heels of a near-upset of conference-leading Northern Illinois, they have their sights set on ending the losing streak.

Last weekend, in Kalamazoo, sophomore quarterback Alex Carder passed for 360 yards and three scores before a tipped pass fell into the hands of a Huskies defender for a game-killing interception in a 28-21 defeat.

“We just didn’t finish,” Cubit said during the Mid-American Conference teleconference on Monday. “We went ahead late, they put together a great drive and we went down there and were in a position to tie it up. Unfortunately, (Alex) got hit.”

But Carder has been getting hit all year, by the likes of Michigan State and Notre Dame.
And his coach has seen the first-year starter improve “light years” since a season-opening loss in East Lansing.

“He’s kind of like a runaway colt,” Cubit said. “He’s a real energetic, passionate guy. His first college football game, he goes against Michigan State and then Notre Dame, and he rose to the occasion on both.”

The Broncos are 3-5, a game and a half better than the 2-7 Chippewas, and if credit is due to Carder, then it’s also appropriate to accolade wide receiver Jordan White, who leads the team in receiving yards and is tied for the lead with six receiving touchdowns.

“He’s made some unbelievable catches,” Cubit said of White, who injured himself in last week’s loss but kept playing. “It was pretty impressive what he did.”

And it would be pretty impressive to knock off the Chippewas this weekend.

“We have to regroup,” Cubit said. “This is a big rivalry game and going up there is always hard to play. We’re playing a very talented team and every week we have to go out there and play.
“But this week is especially important.”

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