DETROIT — On this night, Dan Enos was fine with letting the other coach make the game’s most important decision.
“I don’t know what I would have done,” Enos said. “But I will never second guess a coach for trying to win.”
Enos and his Central Michigan Chippewas held on for a 24-21 victory over Western Kentucky on Wednesday night in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, stopping the Hilltoppers on fourth-and-2 in the final minute when a field goal could have sent the game to overtime.
Lance Guidry, coaching Western Kentucky on an interim basis with Bobby Petrino set to take over, went for the victory after his players made their feelings known on the matter.
“That was all the players. We were going to kick the field goal, but they told me that they were here to win the game,” Guidry said. “I asked everyone and they wanted to go for it so we took the chance.”
It didn’t work out.
On fourth down from the 19-yard line with 51 seconds left, Kawaun Jakes threw incomplete.
Ryan Radcliff had thrown an 11-yard touchdown pass to Cody Wilson with 5:11 remaining to give Central Michigan the lead.
“I couldn’t have scripted it any better than my last catch being the winning TD in a bowl game,” said Wilson, a senior who had 10 catches for 101 yards on the night.
Western Kentucky (7-6) fell just short in its first bowl since joining college football’s top tier in 2009.
Radcliff went 19 of 29 for 253 yards and three touchdowns, but Central Michigan (7-6) needed to rally late.