KALAMAZOO – The Northern Illinois defense didn't have an answer for Jarvion Franklin and Corey Davis.
The Western Michigan playmakers had big nights and the Broncos broke a seven-game losing streak to the Huskies with a 45-30 win on Saturday night at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo.
Franklin, who took over running duties after an ankle injury sidelined starter Jamauri Bogan, finished with 169 yards on 31 carries and had a touchdown to go with three catches and 80 yards receiving. Davis, who is the Mid-American Conference's all-time leader in career receiving yards, had six catches for 122 yards and two touchdowns.
"(The Huskies' defense) wasn't good enough," Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey said. "We got some stops in the second half and Corey had a nice game, he's a great player, and you give them credit."
For Western Michigan coach PJ Fleck, it's his first win against his alma mater in four attempts and the Broncos first victory over the Huskies since 2008.
The Broncos (6-0 overall, 2-0 in MAC West) had 573 yards of total offense, while the Huskies finished with 484. Making his second career start at quarterback, Northern Illinois senior Anthony Maddie had 111 rushing yards and a touchdown and went 14 for 30 with 224 yards and a touchdown, but threw two interceptions in the fourth quarter.
Huskies wide receiver Kenny Golladay had five catches for 99 yards and Jordan Huff had nine carries for 79 yards for the Huskies, who dropped to 1-5 overall and 1-1 in the MAC West. The Huskies got three field goals by kicker Christian Hagan after getting into the red zone on each drive.
"(The offense) was fine, but it wasn't good enough," Carey said. "You get down into the red zone and settle for three field goals, that's the difference in the game. If those are touchdowns, I think that game is probably different but it wasn't and give them credit, they're a good football team."
Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell had another strong game, finishing 18 for 24 with 327 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions.
With the Broncos leading 14-7 early in the second quarter, Terrell scrambled on a third-and-goal from the 7 and Northern Illinois cornerback Daniel Isom delivered a violent hit near the goal line that left Terrell temporarily motionless on the turf. The original call of a fumble recovered by the Huskies was overturned and the Broncos scored on a 1-yard run by Franklin on fourth down to make it 21-7.
"We're going to play the same way with the same intensity, no matter the situation," said Northern Illinois linebacker Sean Folliard, who had a team-high 11 tackles.
The hit caused Terrell to miss Franklin's touchdown run and the first play of the Broncos following drive.
Western Michigan had built an early two-touchdown lead after Terrell threw a pair of scores in the first quarter – a 32-yarder to Franklin on the opening drive and then a 20-yarder to Davis late in the period.
Christian Blake got the Huskies on the board with a 2-yard run and Maddie later found tight end Shane Wimann for a 26-yard touchdown with 6:09 left in the second.
Hagan made a 30-yard field goal to cut the Broncos lead to 21-17 going into halftime and added a 19-yarder on the Huskies first drive of the third quarter to make it a one-point game.
"We started executing," Carey said of the second quarter in which the Huskies outscored the Broncos 17-7. "We just needed to continue that and we got stoned in the red zone a little bit."
Western Michigan reached a fourth-and-goal on the 1-yard-line and the offense lined up to go for it, but the Broncos were called for a false start and they settled for a 23-yard field goal by Butch Hampton to make it 24-20.
The Huskies rolled down the field in the following drive, going 65 yards in three plays, but the drive stalled and Hagan made his third field goal of the night – coming from 37 yards out.
The two plays of the game came on the Broncos next drive.
Northern Illinois safety Mycial Allen had a running start when he lowered his shoulder to deliver a violent blow to Franklin on a deep reception that resulted in a personal foul.
However, Franklin caught the ball and didn't go down. He composed himself and kept running down the sideline to the 23-yard line before being pushed out of bounds for a 39-yard gain.
Two plays later, Davis had a highlight-reel, one-handed catch for an 8-yard touchdown.
Western Michigan took control early in the fourth, with a 5-play, 87-yard drive that was capped with a 26-yard touchdown run by Davon Tucker to go ahead 38-23.
However, the Huskies made it a one-possession game again with an 8-yard touchdown run by Maddie on third down with 8:38 left in the game. Davis and the Broncos answered right back, starting the next drive with a 56-yard completion to the star receiver down the left sideline and the Broncos eventually scored on a 2-yard run by Terrell to cap the scoring on the night.
The Huskies' last-ditch effort came to an end when Maddie's pass was intercepted by Robert Spillane near midfield with 1:59 – Maddie's second interception in as many drives.
The Huskies return home for three consecutive games in DeKalb, including hosting Central Michigan at 2:30 p.m. Saturday.