Friday’s MAC football: CMU wins but misses title game

Detroit News staff and wires

Mount Pleasant — 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 touchdown catch for Willis, breaking a tie with Antonio Brown.

The Chippewas did their part to try to make the Mid-American Conference championshpi game, but missed out when Toledo routed Western Michigan, 37-10.

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. Asked what he told his players at halftime, coach John Bonamego said, “I didn’t realize we scheduled the New England Patriots today.”

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 I the second half.

Ward, who had 5 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-for-37 for 247 yards, started the winning drive with a 40-yard strike to Eric Cooper. A 3-yard run and a 3-yard pass set up the winning throw.

With two interceptions, Central’s defense now has 19 for the season, tops in the nation, one more than Florida Atlantic.

(At) Toledo 37, Western Michigan 10: Logan Woodside threw for 300 yards and two touchdowns, and Toledo won the MAC West and secured a spot in the MAC championship game next Saturday against Akron.

“We’ll cherish this one today and we’ll get back at it tomorrow,” said Woodside, who became the first player in program history to throw for more than 10,000 yards. “We’re not satisfied yet.”

Reece Goddard was intercepted twice for WMU (6-6, 4-4).

Toledo is 10-2, 7-1.

MAC championship game

Toledo vs. Akron

Kickoff: Noon Saturday, Dec. 2, Ford Field, Detroit


Records: Toledo 10-2, 7-1 MAC; Akron 7-5, 6-2

Earlier meeting: Toledo beat Akron, 48-21, on Oct. 21

Outlook: This is Toledo’s first appearance in the MAC championship game since 2004, and Akron’s first since 2005.

Tickets: $10 to $20, and available at the Ford Field box office.