WEST LAFAYETTE – The final result wasn’t what he wanted, but Western Michigan quarterback Zach Terrell believes the reclamation project in Kalamazoo – of which he is a major building block – is on the right path.
The former Homestead standout led Western Michigan into Ross-Ade Stadium on Saturday attempting to upset his home state Boilermakers. Despite the Broncos’ 43-34 setback – and 1-11 record last year – Terrell is encouraged by what’s taking place inside the program.
Absolutely we’re going in the right direction, he said. After this first game, I can definitely tell you I feel 1,000 times better than we did last year – the offense as a whole, the defense, everything. We’re a lot better, we have good players. We’re really looking forward to the rest of the season.
Terrell completed 23 of 41 passes for 243 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. After Western Michigan fell behind 37-21 late in the third quarter, he engineered consecutive scoring drives – seven- and 14-yard touchdown passes – to pull the Broncos within three points.
I thought he played tremendous, Western Michigan head coach P.J. Fleck said.
Saturday was the seventh career start for Terrell, who became Western Michigan’s No. 1 quarterback midway through last season after Tyler Van Tubbergen suffered a shoulder injury. Terrell completed 53 percent of his passes in 2013 for 1,602 yards with eight touchdowns and eight interceptions.
He entered fall camp in a competition with redshirt freshman Cam Thomas and true freshman Chance Stewart. Fleck ultimately chose to go with the more experienced Terrell.
The lone mistake the 6-foot-1, 210-pound Terrell made came in the second quarter when he threw an interception as the Broncos were driving. Purdue’s Frankie Williams returned the errant pass to the 4-yard line, leading to a touchdown. Purdue added a field goal before halftime to take a 23-14 lead – and control of the game – into the locker room.
It was a lot of fun, Terrell said of playing in West Lafayette. I definitely came here growing up. My grandpa is the biggest Purdue fan I know. Obviously, it’s in the family. Being from Indiana, it’s the home state school. It was fun to come back and play in front of a lot of friends and family. It wasn’t the outcome I wanted, but you have to get better.