Western Michigan quarterback Jon Wassink led the Broncos with three passing touchdowns in a 34-15 win over the Georgia State Panthers Saturday evening. The Broncos looked to build off of last week’s win against Delaware State to get back to .500. Meanwhile, the Panthers were seeking their first win after losing two of their last three games to North Carolina State and Memphis.
Early on, both offenses were settling into the game but struggled to get points on the board for most of the first quarter. Broncos capped off their second offensive possession with a 24-yard field goal by Josh Grant giving the Broncos the first lead of the game. In the second quarter, the Panthers offense matched the Broncos when Barry Brown’s 36-yard field goal would complete a 14 play, 61-yard drive. However, the Broncos offense would find their rhythm on their next offensive possession. Brett Borske caught a 17-yard touchdown strike from Wassink to give Western Michigan a 10-3 lead with 4:12 remaining in the second quarter.
The defense forced the Panthers to go three and out giving Wassinik and the offense another opportunity to add points. The Broncos would add another three points after a 38-yard field goal by Gavin Peddie extend the lead to 10.
With the strong momentum of the Broncos offense, Dan Ellington and the Panthers needed to answer. Ellington rose up to the challenge and rushed into the end zone from 10 yards out to finish a three play, 69-yard drive. However, the Panthers could not convert on the extra point and would trail 13-9 with 58 seconds to go.
On the next drive, it took only 22 seconds for Wassink to find Keishawn Watson for a 24-yard touchdown reception to go up 20-9 heading into halftime.
The beginning of the third quarter proved that to be true when the Broncos would score on their opening drive. Jayden Reed was on the receiving end of a 40-yard touchdown pass from Wassink to go up 27-9.
“As you can see it was certainly not the day we had expected,” head coach Shawn Elliott said. “When you come out and you have a loss 34-15 to Western Michigan and probably in every phase and every aspect of the game we had multiple issues as far as sloppiness – coming from our kicking game into our offense and to our defense it was kind of a day of ‘what ifs.’
“Defensively our strong suit, up until the last two weeks, has been to stop the run and have an ability to really shut down the running game,” Elliott continued. “In the last two weeks, there has been an inability to get a hat on the ball carrier, defend out gaps, to make adjustments and go out and execute. And then we can’t go out and fundamentally execute an extra point, then there’s cause for serious concern.
“Ultimately here we are four games into it and the entire three phases need great improvement.”
Wassink finished 20-25, 234 yards and three touchdowns.
The Broncos will face the Miami-Ohio Redhawks Saturday, Sept. 29, 2018, on the road. Meanwhile, the Panthers will begin conference play against Louisiana-Monroe next Saturday at home.