Western, Central meet for bragging rights, first place in MAC West

Unbeaten rivals set to collide on Wednesday
Posted at 4:57 PM, Nov 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-17 16:57:38-05
Western, Central meet for 1st place in MAC West

The battle for the Cannon Trophy is always circled on the calendars in the state of Michigan, but with Michigan and Michigan State struggling so much, perhaps even more so in 2020.

"It is not like it is a game that is just a normal game and now it is bumped up a little bit because of the ramifications," fourth year WMU head coach Tim Lester said. "It is already the game of the year. You look at our goal board, beating Central is on it, first, before anything else."

"People throughout this state know the importance of the Central-Western rivalry and I think that is what makes it pretty cool," second year CMU head coach Jim McElwain added. "As a coach, as a player you just love playing in those kinds of things."

Games of this magnitude come with a lot of emotion.

Last year's game had some unsportsmanlike conduct penalties and the Broncos struggled with that in last week's win over Toledo as well.

Playing under control has been a point of emphasis this week for Western.

"My big message to our team this week is you have to play this game with emotion but you can't get emotional when you are out there," Lester said. "You can't get too high, you can't get too low but you have to play the game with emotion and controlling that is the key.

Central was not pleased with its effort last season in Kalamazoo falling to WMU 31-15, McElwain made no secret of that this week.

"They just blew us off the field a year ago, it was ridiculous," McElwain said. "So, are we able to step up to that challenge? We'll find out on Wednesday."

To the winner will go bragging rights, the Victory Cannon Trophy and the inside track to the MAC Championship game.

"This game means more than just winning the Cannon," CMU senior defensive back Alonzo McCoy said. "This our road to the MAC Championship and the feeling of winning that is crazy!"

"We are playing the MAC West champs from last year and if you want to be the MAC West champs you got to beat the guys that won it last year," Lester added. "So it's a great opportunity for us."

The game is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Kelly-Shorts Stadium and will air on ESPN2.