It was a win Dick Enberg himself would be proud of; not a beautiful one to hang in a trophy case and admire, but a win to show the true grit and determination of a team. Much like himself, the Chippewas worked to get to the position they're currently in. In a tight West division of the MAC, Northern Illinois 8-2, (5-1 MAC), Toledo 6-4, (5-1 MAC), Western Michigan 7-3, (5-1 MAC), and Central Michigan 6-4, (4-2 MAC) are all currently vying for the trip to Detroit. There can only be one.
Knowing their destiny rested in their own hands, the Chippewas took on Miam in Mount Pleasant at Kelly-Shorts Stadium this afternoon. Although the RedHawks record showed a team struggling this season at 2-9, (2-5 MAC), their performance today was anything but that.
The RedHawks responded with a 26 yard field goal by Kaleb Patterson in the opening minutes of the second quarter and a swift, 28 yard strike to David Frazier from Andrew Hendrix a few minutes later. Just like that, it was 10-7 RedHawks.
Rush rallied the troops and again found Titus Davis for six points after another long drive, but left just enough time for Miami to drive down the field and Kaleb Patterson to tack on a 41 yard field goal to tie things up 13-13, going into halftime.
The scoring took off in hurry in the second half as Central Michigan came out of the gates with a 69 yard drive capped off by a two yard run by Devon Spalding. Hendrix went to work quickly and hit Jared Murphy in the corner end zone with a 9 yard pass. The Chippewas had the last laugh in the third quarter though, as Spalding took a handoff up the middle and sprinted down the sideline for 51 yards and six more points. 27-20, Chippewas. All of the scoring in the third quarter happened in a matter of UNDER four minutes in game time.
As we all know though, games are won or lost in the fourth quarter, and this game could've gone either way. In the first few minutes of the fourth, the RedHawks tied the game one last time and silenced the Chippewa faithful when Jared Murphy bounded over the goal line from ten yards out. Not long after, Rush calmly led Central Michigan down the field and connected with Titus Davis for his third touchdown of the game, with this one from nine yards out.
With the final seconds ticking down, Hendrix had one last shot at the end zone at the Chippewa nine yard line. Dropping back to pass, he tried to find Jared Murphy, but Tony Aneese found Murphy before the ball did. The ensuing pass interference call pushed the RedHawks up to the two yard line and gave them a first down with no time remaining. On the final play of the game, Hendrix dropped back and looked for Sam Martin, but the throw went just off of his diving fingertips and secured the Chippewas the win, 34-27.
Andrew Hendrix finished with 24-of-42 passing for 369 yards with two touchdowns in the effort.
Rush ended the game 16-for-23 for 218 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Titus Davis had a career high game with eight catches for 102 yards and three touchdowns. The freshman, Devon Spalding, was also a bright spot for Central Michigan, rushing for 147 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns.
Central Michigan improves to 7-4, (5-2 MAC), and will play arch-rival Western Michigan in Mount Pleasant at Kelly-Shorts Stadium this Saturday for the Victory Cannon, a shot at a trip to Detroit and a possible bowl game bid. This will be the 85th game in the history of the rivalry. Kickoff will be at 1 pm.