(Saturday, September 6th)
Final Score: Western Michigan 29, Northern Illinois 26
Kalamazoo, MI (Sports Network) - Tim Hiller threw for three touchdowns and ran for another, lifting the Western Michigan Broncos to a 29-26 victory over the Northern Illinois Huskies in Mid-American Conference play at Waldo Stadium.
Hiller made good on 21-of-30 pass attempts for 186 yards, as WMU (1-1, 1-0 MAC) improved to 10-1 in home openers in the last 11 years. Jamarko Simmons was his main outlet with eight catches for 102 yards and a score, while Brandon West headed the ground attack with a career-high 175 yards on 25 totes. West also caught two passes for nine yards and a score.
For NIU (0-2, 0-1), Dan Nicholson completed 16-of-29 tosses for 239 yards with a touchdown and interception. Marcus Perez caught six passes for 77 yards in the setback and Nathan Palmer had four receptions for a team-high 78 yards.
It took NIU less than four minutes to strike, as Me'co Brown scampered 26 yards for a touchdown.
WMU responded late in the opening quarter with a 26-yard scoring strike from Hiller to Simmons.
Just over a minute into the second quarter the Broncos took the lead, as Hiller hooked up with West from seven yards out.
A 20-yard field goal by the Huskies' Mike Salerno late in the first half put the score at 14-10 at the break.
Early in the third quarter, Salerno struck again, this time from 39 yards away.
NIU moved ahead early in the final quarter when DeMarcus Grady rumbled three yards for a score. The two-point conversion attempt, though, was off the mark, leaving the score at 19-14.
Just over a four minute later, WMU regained the lead, as Hiller scurried five yards for a score. The two-point try was also successful, giving the Broncos a 22-19 edge.
The Broncos added to their lead just over three minutes later, as Hiller threw a one-yard touchdown pass to Austin Pritchard.
With 40 seconds left, Nicholson tossed a 16-yard touchdown pass to Greg Turner, but NIU would get no closer in the 29-26 loss.
09/06 23:15:59 ET