Andy Sneddon, CMUChippewas.com
MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. - Shane Morris hit Corey Willis with a 29-yard touchdown pass with 1:31 remaining on Friday as Central Michigan topped Northern Illinois, 31-24, in the Chippewas' regular-season finale at Kelly/Shorts Stadium.
It was the fifth consecutive win for CMU, which is 8-4 overall, 6-2 Mid-American Conference. The Chippewas, who tied the Huskies for second place in the MAC West, will await a bowl invitation that will be announced on Dec. 3. The eight wins is CMU's most since 2009.
Morris threw for 247 yards and three touchdowns as Central Michigan overcame a 17-0 halftime deficit to extend its win streak over NIU to four games.
Morris' TD passes went to Willis, Mark Chapman and Jonathan Ward, and Ward ran 54 yards for a score early in the fourth quarter to put CMU up 24-17.
NIU (8-4, 6-2) tied the game at 24 with just over three minutes remaining on a Tre Harbison 12-yard run. Ward finished with 159 yards rushing on 21 carries.
CMU responded with a five-play, 75-yard game-winning drive, capped by Morris' fourth-down-and-4 toss to Willis. It was the 23rd career TD reception for Willis, a senior who moved passed Antonio Brown and into third place on CMU's career TD reception list.