It was a bitter ending to a frustrating season for the Western Michigan University football team. The Broncos (4-8, 2-6 MAC) fell to the winless in the Mid-American Conference Eastern Michigan University Eagles (2-10, 1-9 MAC), 29-23, allowing EMU to retain its Michigan MAC Trophy.
Before kickoff, the Brown and Gold honored its graduating class and Alumni for its annual Senior Day. WMU had every opportunity at closing the season out with a victory, but instead, the defense only forced the Eagles to a pair of punts. The lack of defense coupled with two untimely Alex Carder turnovers sealed the Broncos fate and put an exclamation point on a sour WMU season.
“It’s just how the season went,” said WMU head coach Bill Cubit. “It just felt like the same thing, we’re just coming up short. Every loss except the [Illinois] game we had a chance to win. I don’t know what else to say, it was a tough season that ended with a tough loss.”
The Broncos never looked in-sync on Saturday, and every time they battled back, they’d give up a big play to even up the score or fall right back behind.
“No excuses,” said Cubit. “Every coach in America goes through this if you’re in this long enough. The receivers were like a revolving door this year. It’s all on me. Those kids fought hard and I just wanted them to feel good. Tonight they don’t have very much to feel good about.”
The players are feeling much worse now than the time of this press conference. WMU terminated Coach Cubit’s contract immediately following the game.
“I’m obviously disappointed with the outcome of the game,” said senior quarterback Alex Carder. “It’s not the last taste I want left in my mouth at Waldo. I’ll never forget the relationships with the coaches and how they’re always concerned with getting us better and putting us in a position to be better all the time as players and individuals. I’d like to say I don’t have any regrets, but you don’t wanna lose your last game at home.”
WMU senior quarterback Alex Carder went 29-for-50 for 328 yards and two touchdowns. Unfortunately, Carder had another multiple turnover game in his career finale. Carder missed half of the season due to a broken finger on his throwing hand and was still looking to regain his rhythm over his last two starts.
Cubit’s loyalty to Carder may’ve cost him his job, but anyone who knows Cubit, knows he always put his athlete’s best interest before his own.
Carder returned from injury only a week after Tyler VanTubbergen led the Brown and Gold to its second program win since 1973 at its rival Central Michigan University Chippewas. Cubit was put in a tough position having to choose between the hot-handed winning QB, and your starter of the last three seasons who draws many NFL scouts.
“Things may have went differently if we all weren’t injured,” said Carder. “But this is football and sometimes you’ve gotta roll with the punches.”
It’s the first time since the 1990-91 seasons that the Broncos have loss consecutive games to the Eagles, and the only time the Broncos fell at home to EMU during Cubit’s tenure.
WMU search for a new head coach will begin immediately.
Photos by Adam Roberts