Northern Illinois rallies in final minute to beat Central Michigan

Rocky Lombardi threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns and freshman Kanon Woodill kicked the go-ahead field goal with under a minute to go in his first collegiate action to give the Huskies a 39-38 victory.

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MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. — Rocky Lombardi threw for 320 yards and three touchdowns and freshman Kanon Woodill kicked the go-ahead field goal with under a minute to go in his first collegiate action to give Northern Illinois a 39-38 victory over Central Michigan on Saturday.

Trayvon Rudolph kept the Huskies’ final drive alive with a 7-yard gain off a reverse on fourth-and-1 at the 50. Jay Ducker followed with a 26-yard run and four plays later Woodill kicked a 26-yard field goal with 56 seconds left.

CMU reached the Huskies’ 22 with five seconds left and lined up for a field-goal attempt that ended with a low snap.

NIU (6-2, 4-0) won its fifth straight to remain the only Mid-American team without a loss in conference play.

NIU came into the game with the MAC’s top rushing offense and last in passing yards. But against Central Michigan (4-4, 2-2), ranked second in rushing defense and last in passing defense, the Huskies changed gears.

Trailing 35-18 in the third quarter, Lombardi and Rudolph connected on a 75-yard pass play that began the Huskies’ rally. They had a 36-35 lead after Clint Ratkovich’s 1-yard run in the fourth quarter before Marshall Meeder gave the Chippewas their last lead on a 38-yard field goal with six minutes remaining.

Ducker finished with 183 yards on 31 carries while Rudolph had 160 yards receiving and two scores and Tyrice Richie 147 and a touchdown for NIU.

Daniel Richardson threw for 289 yards and three scores for Central Michigan with Kalil Pimpleton collecting 130 yards receiving. Lew Nichols III had 192 yards rushing on 22 carries with two scores.

The teams combined for 1,020 yards of offense.

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