FRESNO — The head coaches were quick to praise their opponent's speed as Western Michigan and Fresno State prepared for the California Bowl football game today at 1 p.m.
"Western Michigan has much more speed than any other MAC (Mid-American Conference) team that has played here," Fresno State Coach Jim Sweeney said.
Bronco Coach Al Molde agreed but hinted that Fresno State may be faster.
"We probably had more quickness than any other team in our conference," Molde said. "I'm not sure how we compare to the Big West teams, but I know Fresno has outstanding speed, and no one that we have played has close to that kind of speed."
Both teams bring 9-2 records into the eighth annual game at Fresno's 30,000-seat Bulldog Stadium, which annually matches the champions of the MAC and the Big West Conference, formerly the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn.
The Broncos are led by quarterback Tony Kimbrough, who was named MAC player of the year as he passed for 2,465 yards and 19 touchdowns. Western Michigan, which won its first league title in 22 years, was ninth in the nation in passing offense among National Collegiate Athletic Assn. Division I teams.
Another offensive threat for the Broncos is Robert Davis, who rushed for 1,054 yards.
Fresno State's running game racked up 2,598 yards, spread fairly evenly among fullback Myron Jones with 677 yards and tailbacks Kelly Skipper with 574 and Darrell Rosette with 504. First-year quarterback Mark Barsotti passed for 1,555 yards.
The Bulldogs were fourth nationally in scoring defense and ninth in yards allowed. Key to that effort was linebacker Tracy Rogers, the Big West's player of the year with 87 tackles.