Detroit, MI (Sports Network) - Ryan Radcliff threw three touchdown passes, including the eventual game-winning toss to Cody Wilson late in the fourth quarter to give Central Michigan a 24-21 victory over Western Kentucky in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.
Central Michigan (7-6) needed to win its final three games of the regular season to even become bowl eligible and on Wednesday justified their selection by capturing the program's first postseason victory since its last bowl appearance in 2009.
Radcliff completed 19-of-29 passes for 253 yards and tossed two touchdown passes to Andrew Flory, who logged 105 yards on just three catches. Wilson caught a game-high 10 passes for 101 yards.
The loss came in the Hilltoppers' (7-6) first-ever bowl game, only three years after they suffered through an 0-12 season in their first year in the Sun Belt Conference. The success led to head coach Willie Taggart departing the program for South Florida earlier this month, and Lance Guidry served as interim coach on Wednesday with the newly-hired Bobby Petrino waiting to take over.
Kawaun Jakes, the starting quarterback on the winless 2009 squad, threw a TD pass and ran for another score, but threw an incomplete pass on 4th-and-2 deep inside Central Michigan territory with under a minute remaining to seal the outcome.
Antonio Andrews totaled 184 all-purpose yards in the loss, falling 90 yards short of breaking Barry Sanders' all-time NCAA record.