EL PASO, TX – Central Michigan hung on for a 24-21 win over Washington State in the Sun Bowl Friday afternoon to secure its first bowl win since 2012.
It was an impressive win for CMU, which had under a week to prepare for Washington State after finding out Boise State would be unable to play in the Arizona Bowl.
The Chippewas raced out to a 13-0 lead by the end of the first quarter as kicker Marshall Meeder knocked through two 45+ yard field goals and running back Lew Nichols III scored a one-yard rushing touchdown.
Central Michigan extended the lead to 21-0 right before halftime when quarterback Daniel Richardson found tight end and Petoskey alum Joel Wilson for a 15-yard touchdown.
The Cougars responded in the second half with two third quarter touchdowns. After another field goal from Meeder made it 24-14, Washington State cut the lead to three when Victor Gabalis hit Lincoln Victor for a 16-yard touchdown with 3:13 remaining.
The Chippewas defense held strong on Washington State’s final possession, coming up with a stop on 4th & 5 to secure the victory.
Richardson finished 17-for-33 for 208 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
Nichols III, the nation’s leading rusher for the season, finished with 137 yards rushing and one touchdown on 29 carries.
With the win, the Chippewas finish the season 9-4. The Sun Bowl victory is their first bowl win since the 2012 Little Caesar’s Bowl against Western Kentucky. The final score of that game was also 24-21.
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