MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. (AP) — Shane Morris threw his third touchdown pass on a daring fourth down play with 1:32 to play, Josh Cox intercepted a pass at the goal line with 22 seconds left and Central Michigan beat Northern Illinois 31-24 on Friday.
Facing a fourth-and-4 from the NIU 29 going into the wind, Morris found Corey Willis behind the defense on the left side. It was the 23rd career TD catch for Willis, breaking a tie with Antonio Brown.
Central Michigan (8-4, 6-2 Mid-American Conference), riding a four-game winning streak, it’s best since 2012, was down 17-0 at the half with just four first downs and 35 yards of total offense. But Morris found Mark Chapman for a 56-yard touchdown and after a field goal, hit Jonathan West for four yards to tie the game with 1:19 left in the third quarter. The Chippewas had 351 yards in the second half.
Ward, who had five yards at halftime, broke loose for a 54-yard score early in the fourth quarter. Ward finished with 159 yards to match his career high.
The Huskies (8-4, 6-2) tied the game with 3:03 to play on Tre Harbison’s 12-yard run.
Morris, who was 19 of 37 for 247 yards, started the winning drive with a 40-yard strike to Eric Cooper. A 3-yard run, incompletion and a 3-yard pass setup the winning throw. NIU’s Jawaun Johnson returned a Morris interception 37 yards to open the scoring.
With two interceptions, CMU has 19 for the season, one more than Florida Atlantic.