KALAMAZOO, Mich. (WOOD) — After watching his team beat Buffalo in the longest Mid-American Conference game ever, Western Michigan head coach Tim Lester realized he might need a bigger playbook.
He reached pretty deep into his bag of tricks though seven overtimes Saturday. Going for two in the fourth overtime, quarterback Jon Wassink walked to the line of scrimmage, the ball was snapped directly to running back Jarvion Franklin and the Broncos ran a reverse to wide receiver Keishawn Watson, who fought his way into the end zone.
In septuple overtime, Franklin ran 11 yards for a touchdown and the Broncos won 71-68 in the highest scoring FBS game ever.
“Luckily, we prepare for situations all year round, and probably three or four happen in a year. We had like 12 happen in just that game. It was a good test for us,” Lester said at a Tuesday press conference in Kalamazoo. “I don’t think we played our best football, but we found a way to win. I told them afterward, there is nothing better than watching a ton of film and having a ton of corrections to make, and having a ‘W’ next to your name.”
It was Western’s fourth straight win.
In the first overtime, Wassink found tight end Donnie Ernsberger in the end zone to tie it up. Thrilled, his sister Shalene came out of the stands to give him a hug. At first, officials threw a flag and were going to penalize Western 15 yards on the upcoming extra point, but picked up the flag when they realized she had come from the stands and not from Western’s sideline.
Coach Lester said he was so caught up in thinking about the next play that he didn’t initially realize what had happened. He asked Donnie Ernsberger about it later.
“I just said, ‘Was that your sister?’ And he said, ‘Yeah, I think she thought it was over.’ And he kind of laughed,” he said.
After the game, Ernsberger told media that his sister was excited and the hug demonstrated the family’s love for one another.
Teammates said it was a great moment.
“Family love, I guess,” linebacker Asantay Brown said. “He scored, she was super excited, ran out on the field and give him a hug. I’m sure anybody’s sister would do that if it was going to overtime and scoring and maybe thinking the game was over.”
Western Michigan’s homecoming game is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Saturday at Waldo Stadium in Kalamazoo. You can watch it on CBS Sports Network.