Western Michigan Breakdown

By Thomas Hiley

Sports writer Thomas Hiley breaks down the key players for WMU as the Huskies prepare to face off against the Broncos at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Huskie Stadium. NIU has beaten Western Michigan six consecutive times since the 2009-10 season.


The Broncos (6-3, MAC 5-0) are currently first in the west division and are led by Redshirt junior quarterback Zach Terrell. He is in his second season at the helm for WMU. Terrell started in all 13 games in 2014, throwing for 3,443 yards with 26 touchdowns and only 10 interceptions. He was named Second Team All-MAC, MAC’s most efficient quarterback and led all MAC quarterbacks with a 67.9 completion percentage. He has started in all nine games for the Broncos in 2015 and has put up quality numbers with a 69.8 completion rate, 2,369 yards passing and 23 touchdowns. Terrell has led the team to a five-game winning streak after starting the season 1-3, throwing 11 touchdowns and no interceptions while completing 68 percent of his throws.

Running Back

The Broncos’ running game is led by sophomore Jarvion Franklin and redshirt freshman Jamauri Bogan. Franklin started 10 of the 13 games in 2014 as a freshman and became the first player in MAC history to win both MAC Rookie of the Year and MAC Offensive Player of the Year in the same season. He finished the year rushing for 1,551 yards for 24 touchdowns. Bogan redshirted in 2014 and was a member of the offensive scout team. The two have gone more than 600 yards this year with a total of 14 touchdowns, averaging more than 70 yards-per-game apiece.

Wide Receiver

Redshirt junior Daniel Braverman and junior Corey Davis have been the go-to receivers for Zach Terrell this season. Braverman caught 86 passes for 997 yards and six touchdowns in 2014 to lead all Broncos receivers. Davis wasn’t far behind, catching 78 balls for 1,408 yards and 15 touchdown receptions. Davis’ performance led to him being named to the All MAC-First team after he recorded career highs in all receiving categories. Braverman has already surpassed his 2014 totals, picking up 999 yards and 11 touchdowns through nine games this year. Davis has 56 catches for 832 yards and is averaging 92 yards-per-game. The two have become reliable targets for the Broncos, combining for 1,831 yards and more than 200 yards every game.

Defensive Line

Junior defensive end Keion Adams has proved his worth for the Broncos after starting in only three games in 2014. Adams’ career stats consisted of just 36 tackles and 1.5 sacks in two season prior to 2015, and he has already nearly passed all of those numbers in nine games this year. Adams has 25 tackles, 7.5 being for-loss and 3.5 sacks. Adams has been a workhorse and continues to get into the backfield of offenses every week. He has become one of the top players for the Broncos. The defense has picked up just 10 sacks on the year, and Adams is the only player with more than 1.5. He also managed to force a fumble, pick up a pass deflection and collect two quarterback hurries. Adams is the most dangerous player for Western Michigan’s defensive line and must be contained if the Huskies have any chance at being successful running the ball.


Redshirt sophomore Caleb Bailey has been the biggest surprise for the Broncos this season after being redshirted in 2013 and mostly contributing to special teams in 2014, combing for six total tackles. Bailey has become a strong force, picking up 48 tackles, 25 of them solo and 10 of them for-loss. He’s tied for third on the team in tackles behind sophomore safety Asantay Brown and junior linebacker Austin Lewis and has also tallied three quarterback hurries. Lewis has picked up 51 tackles on the year, making the combination of him and Bailey a big threat for opposing teams. NIU is a run-first team, and opposing teams are running for 168 yards-per-game against WMU.

Defensive Back

Sophomore Darius Phillips is in his second season for the Broncos and his first playing cornerback. He quietly turned into one of the best players on the team’s defense this year. Phillips played wide receiver before making the switch to defense, catching 32 passes for 479 yards and two touchdowns. He also became a third team All-MAC kick returner. The switch has proved to be a smart one and has run smoothly for Phillips. He’s intercepted three passes through nine games and has picked up 11 break-ups and 14 pass deflections. Phillips has also totaled 39 tackles and a forced fumble, becoming a do-it-all player for the Broncos’ defense.