Playing on the road is no easy task. Playing on the road against a team with a 28-game home win streak coming in; You can practically hear the oddsmakers in Las Vegas licking their lips halfway across the country.
Enter the Chippewas. A week off of a memorable homecoming win against Ohio 3-4 (1-2 MAC), in Mount Pleasant, 28-10, Central Michigan needed all the momentum they could get to even hope to break the home win streak of Northern Illinois. With Thomas Rawls and Titus Davis both back on the team and healthy, they were on the right track.
Northern Illinois on the other hand were coming off a Kent State threat to their streak a week before, but managed to hold on, 17-14. A win over the improving Chippewas could offer momentum to their season and their bowl hopes.
All was going according to plan for the Huskies when Drew Hare found Juwan Brescacin for 20 yards and pay dirt early in the first quarter, capping a 76 yard drive. Central Michigan answered with two lengthy drives of their own, the first from 86 yards out and followed by a 92 yard drive, both capped by Thomas Rawls bouncing into the end zone for touchdowns. The Chippewas didn't look back after that.
Jesse Kroll tacked on a touchdown of his own after a 68-yard drive in the second quarter after taking a quick pass from Rush. 21-7; and suddenly the streak was just a number to the Chippewas. The second half then became make or break for them.
Central Michigan and Brian Eavey started off the scoring in the second half with a blast through the uprights from 25 yards out, capping off another long drive. The Huskies and Tyler Wedel responded quickly with a 24 yard kick down the middle. Rush then raised Northern Illinois a touchdown, finding the tight end Ben McCord for the score after an 80 yard drive. Hare called Rush's bet on the next drive, flying 80 yards downfield and connecting with Brescacin again for six.
With both offenses seemingly exhausted from the flurry of points in the third quarter, Brian Eavey simply put the cherry on top and the nail in the Northern Illinois coffin with one last field goal from 23 yards out early in the fourth quarter.
Final score: Central Michigan 34, Northern Illinois, 17.
Cooper Rush completed 20 of 31 passes for 269 yards and two touchdowns and an interception. Thomas Rawls finished the day with 40 carries and 270 yards on the ground with two touchdowns of his own.
Drew Hare put up identical numbers to Rush, going 18-for-33 with 231 yards, two touchdowns and a lone interception.
The Chippewas 4-3, (2-1), take their talents back home to Kelly-Shorts Stadium and Mount Pleasant next week to face a struggling Ball State team 1-4, (0-2), kickoff is Saturday at 3:30 pm.