Broncos have Zips' number

“The Zips may not be content with their 1-3 record in non-conference games this season, but head coach J.D. Brookhart and his players know that the team’s level of success this season will be measured by their performance in Mid-American Conference play. We understand exactly where we are, Brookhart said during his weekly news conference Monday.”

The Zips may not be content with their 1-3 record in non-conference games this season, but head coach J.D. Brookhart and his players know that the team’s level of success this season will be measured by their performance in Mid-American Conference play.

We understand exactly where we are, Brookhart said during his weekly news conference Monday. We have goals that we set each year. Obviously, winning the MAC is the number one goal.

Brookhart cited the University of Akron’s previous two seasons to demonstrate the importance of winning MAC games.

If you recall this football team last year, the first thing that comes to mind is not the upset against North Carolina State; it was the rest of the way. In the end, the win against NC State was a great momentum-builder and exciting, but it meant zero to the season.

The 2005-06 season we were 5-3 and lost, I believe, all of our BCS games, but we won the MAC Championship and went to Detroit for a bowl game.

Senior special teams captain Yamari Dixon agreed with his coach and said that because of the parity in the talent level of the MAC and the unpredictability of the league, every game must be viewed as a championship game.

The MAC is kind of crazy, the 5-foot-9, 200-pound defensive back said. Anybody can win at any given time. We have to go out there and practice and play like it’s a championship game every week in order to get to the MAC Championship.

The Zips (2-3, 1-0 MAC) will look to build off of their conference-opening win against Kent State two weeks ago when they travel to Kalamazoo, Mich. Saturday to play the Western Michigan Broncos (2-3, 1-0 MAC).

Saturday’s meeting will mark the 15th football game between the two schools. WMU holds an 11-3 advantage and has won eight of the nine games played in Kalamazoo.

The Broncos shut out the Zips 17-0 in the final game of the regular season in 2006.

Western Michigan started off the season with three consecutive losses to Bowl Championship Series teams West Virginia, Indiana and Marshall.

The Broncos then defeated Football Championship Subdivision member Central Connecticut State 51-14 and fellow MAC West member Toledo 42-28.

WMU senior running back Mark Bonds was named MAC West Division Offensive Player of the Week Monday for his performance at Toledo. He ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns in the Broncos’ win.

Brookhart said that coming into this season he viewed WMU as the favorite to win the MAC.

I thought they were the most talented with the most guys back, he said. It is the same crew. They are physical; they run the ball well, have good skill players and are big up front. Defensively, they are complicated.

Brookhart announced Monday that redshirt sophomore quarterback Chris Jacquemain will remain the team’s starting quarterback this week.

Though he made some critical mistakes against Connecticut, Jacquemain performed well, completing his first 10 passes. He threw for 145 yards and UA’s lone touchdown.

Brookhart said that Jacquemain’s performance in the first quarter convinced the coaching staff to abandon its plan of having redshirt sophomore quarterback Carlton Jackson lead the offense for a drive in the second quarter against the Huskies.

He played well enough that we left him in for the second quarter series that Carlton Jackson was going to play, he said

He did make some errors, the one critical one and he also took some sacks he shouldn’t have, but I think he got that under control.

Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Waldo Stadium.


” #1.1361729:3674806776.jpg:ksu144.jpg:Sophomore quarterback Chris Jacquemain will start vs. Western Michigan Saturday. :jeff Harwell / Zips Sports Photography”