KALAMAZOO, Mich. (AP)Sean Tyler scored three touchdowns – one receiving, one rushing and the final one on a 96-yard kickoff return – and Kaleb Elleby threw two touchdown passes, including a 45-yarder to Corey Crooms with a minute left to play, to help Western Illinois escape with a 45-40 victory over Akron on Tuesday night.
Tyler’s 2-yard TD run gave the Broncos (6-4, 3-3 Mid-American Conference) a 17-7 lead with 3:02 left in the second quarter. Michael Mathison ran the ensuing kickoff back 94 yards for a touchdown to get Akron (2-8, 1-5) within three points, but Elleby answered with a 4-yard TD pass to Tyler with 24 seconds left to give Western Michigan a 24-14 halftime lead.
Tyler’s kickoff-return TD put the Broncos up 31-17 and Elleby added a 1-yard TD run to make it 38-24 with 13:39 remaining in the game. Akron rallied to take a 40-38 lead on Zach Gibson’s 11-yard TD pass to Konata Mumpfield, a 24-yard, pick-6 by defensive lineman Zach Morton and a 39-yard field goal by Cory Smigel with 2:22 left to play. Eleby needed just six plays to deliver the game-winning toss to Crooms.
Eleby completed 12 of 20 passes for 217 yards with one interception. Tyler rushed for 147 yards on 16 carries, while La’Darius Jefferson ran for 99 yards on 19. The Broncos had 533 total yards, including 316 on the ground.
Gibson connected on 26 of 40 passes for 305 yards for the Zips. Mumpfield finished with 11 catches for 122 yards and two scores, while Mathison hauled in eight passes for 112 yards.
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