MOUNT PLEASANT -- Senior Kito Poblah hauled in a five-yard touchdown to give Central Michigan the lead and Armond Staten forced a fumble inside the 10-yard line with Western Michigan threatening for the go-ahead score in the final minutes to preserve a 26-22 victory at Kelly/Shorts Stadium on Friday in the most recent chapter of the storied Mid-American Conference rivalry.
The Chippewas (3-7, 2-5 MAC) scored a pair of touchdowns in the fourth quarter and Staten's third forced fumble of the day cost the Broncos (3-6, 2-3 MAC) a chance for the go-ahead score.
Sophomore Cody Wilson set career highs in receptions (12) and yards (185) as sophomore quarterback Ryan Radcliff's favorite target. Radcliff finished 23-for-36 for 300 yards and two touchdowns. Senior Carl Volney finished with 18 carries for 91 yards and a fourth-quarter touchdown.
The game-changing plays though came from CMU's defense, led by Staten. Matt Berning (12 tackles, one forced fumble) tied a career high in stops and Vince Agnew set a career high with 12 tackles and a forced fumble.
CMU took a 7-0 lead on a 17-yard touchdown catch by Wilson on the opening drive and WMU forced a safety to make it 7-2 later in the quarter on a sack in the end zone. A 35-yard field goal by David Harman made it 10-2 after one quarter.
The Broncos then went on a 12-play, 72 yard drive capped by a three-yard touchdown reception by Jordan White just 26 seconds into the second quarter. WMU attempted a two-point conversion but quarterback Alex Carder's pass was errant thanks to pressure by Nick Bellore (11 tackles) and CMU took a 10-8 lead into the break.
Carder found White on a crossing route on the opening drive of the second half and White raced down the left sideline for a 55-yard touchdown strike to give Western Michigan the lead for the first time in the contest, 15-10.
After a Harman 22-yard field goal at the 7:32 mark of the third quarter made it 15-13, the Broncos converted a short field after returning a punt to the Chippewas' 44-yard line. Carder hit Juan Nunez for his third touchdown pass of the day with 1:55 to go in the quarter to extend the WMU lead to nine, 22-13.
CMU answered on the next drive, traveling 75 yards in nine plays, capped by Volny's one-yard touchdown run to pull back within two, 22-20, with 12:54 remaining. Western Michigan responded by driving into field goal range but the 46-yard attempt with 9:19 remaining was wide right to open the door for the Chippewas.
The victory snapped a six-game losing streak for Central Michigan, who travels to face Navy on Nov. 13.