Western Michigan: key contributors.

I've talked a bit about WMU's strengths as a team, but who are the key contributors to watch on Saturday?

Tim Hiller, senior quarterback:  Well, if you know anything about Western Michigan you knew that.  Here are Hiller's official page and  game log.  Trivia: Hiller is from Orrville, Ohio, the same town as Bob Knight.  As I mentioned a couple of days ago, Hiller's numbers were passable overall, but his 57 percent completion percentage against Michigan was below his career average.  Hiller completed nearly 65 percent of his passes as a junior and over 63 percent as a sophomore.  Still, Michigan was Hiller's third consecutive subpar game: Tiller finished the 2008 season with a 15-32 performance in a loss to Ball State and 19-42 in a Texas Bowl loss to Rice.  Hiller has held his own against BCS conference teams as well: in 2007, his performance against IU (28-51, 343 yards, 3 touchdowns) is well-known here, but the next week, against Missouri, Hiller was 30-43, 242, 1TD, 2 INT in a 52-24 loss at Missouri.  Later in 2007, in a game that allowed IU to secure an Insight Bowl bid, Hiller was 26-45 for 367 yards and 3 TD 0 INT at Iowa.  In 2008, Hiller was 30-49 for 342 yards and 2 TD in a 47-24 loss to Nebraska.  Later in the season, in a home-neutral game at Ford Field, Hiller was 28-40 for 301 yards and 2 TD in a 23-17 win over Illinois.  In short, Hiller hasn't been intimidated against teams from major conferences, and has a 2-3 career record against such teams.

Brandon West, senior running back:  West, for his career, has run for 2548 yards and averaged 4.8 yards per carry. also, he has 746 career receiving yards.  How has he done against the big boys?  West was fine against IU in 2007, running 12 times for 51 yards and returning a kickoff 98 yards for a touchdown.  Also in 2007, he was very effective against Iowa, running for 116 yards on 30 carries and gaining 93 yards and a TD on 9 receptions.  In 2008, he didn't overwhelm against any of the major conference opponents and was less than impressive against Michigan last week. 

Juan Nunez, junior wide receiver.  Nunez was one of the few Broncos who played well against Michigan.  After gaining 701 receiving yards as a sophomore, Nunez caught 7 balls for 151 yards, including a 73 yard touchdown reception, WMU's only score of the game.  He did not play against IU in 2007. 

Austin Pritchard, senior linebacker.  Pritchard was a first-team all-MAC selection in 2008 and WMU's leading tackler.  He led the way in tackles for WMU with 11 against Michigan last week. 

Doug Wiggins, sophomore free safety.  Wiggins transferred from Miami (Fla.) and recorded 9 tackles in his Bronco debut.  Wiggins's transfer from Miami was an odd affair, with allegations by Wiggins that the Miami staff wanted to create a fraudulent injury so that he could gain a medical redshirt year after playing in four games.  According to this article, Wiggins, a top 50 recruit, nearly attended WMU in the first place. Strange story all around.

Those are the Broncos to watch.  As I write this, IU is a 1.5 point favorite, meaning the Hoosiers would be an underdog on a neutral field.  Hopefully, IU can begin a new MAC winning streak this year.

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