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Western Michigan Up to the Challenge Against Minnesota

09/11/2012, 10:03pm CDT
By WMU Athletics

The Broncos head to Minnesota this week to face the Golden Gophers coming off a 52-21 win against Eastern Illinois the previous Saturday.

The Broncos head to Minnesota this week to face the Golden Gophers coming off a 52-21 win against Eastern Illinois the previous Saturday. The offense checked into the right gear on Saturday gaining 631 total yards of offense.

This week however the Broncos will be underdog's once against as they go into Big Ten country to take on the Golden Gophers.

"We have a tough task this week," said head coach Bill Cubit. "They (Minnesota) plays hard and they will get after you in a hurry."

Cubit is hoping to ride the wave on momentum from Saturday's home-opening win into their second Big Ten team of the season. The first was Illinois, where WMU lost 24-7, with the offense sputtering and the defense holding strong against the tough Illinois offense.

"We'll definitely have a tough challenge," said Cubit.

One of the main challenges for Cubit and the Broncos this week is to contain senior Minnesota quarterback MarQueis Gray. Gray is a dual-threat quarterback who has four passing touchdowns along with two rushing touchdowns so far this season.

"He's big and physical," said Cubit. "It's going to take more than one guy to bring him down, we're really going to have to gang tackle."

The key to stopping Gray could go along way in the outcome of the game this Saturday.

"Defensively we need to give him different looks and confuse him," said Cubit. "We will have to make something happen at the point of attack as well."

For the WMU offense, the ball was distributed well throughout the game against Eastern Illinois. One of the surprise performers was tight end Blake Hammond who had six catches for 94 yards and two touchdowns, the first multi-touchdown game of his career.

"It's all about winning to me personally," said Hammond. "I don't care if I have five catches for negative three yards, as long as we win, I'm happy."

The challenge that Minnesota presents is just like any other Big Ten team that WMU has faced over the past years. They're big, fast and good.

"It's the Big Ten, everyone is fast and big in that conference," said Hammond.

After the game this week, the Broncos will have three straight home games and a win this Saturday would raise confidence through the roof.

"Getting this win would be great," said Hammond. "It would be a great platform for those next three games."

"So after the game you can enjoy the sights and sounds of Las Vegas and check out the casinos there, and who knows? There are guys like T.J. Cloutier who after college football, turn pro, then found love for the game of poker , and ultimately also became a pro on the poker circuit."

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Tag(s): Gopher Football