Athens, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Cooper Rush threw three touchdown passes, including the game-winner with under a minute remaining, to lead the Central Michigan Chippewas past the Ohio University Bobcats, 26-23, in a back-and- forth Mid-American Conference bout at Peden Stadium.
CMU (3-4, 2-1 MAC) snapped Ohio's four game-winning streak and was led by Cooper's 224 yards on 20-of-28 passing. Saylor Lavallii led all rushers with a career-high 184 yards on 26 attempts while adding a touchdown receiving. Courtney Williams had 43 yards and a score on five receptions.
For Ohio (4-2, 1-1), Travis Tettleton was impressive under center, completing 24-of-33 passes for 319 yards and two touchdowns, but he also threw a pair of picks. Beau Blankenship had 21 carries for 70 yards. Chase Cochran led all pass-catchers with 122 yards and a touchdown on three receptions, while Donte Foster (nine receptions, 118 yards) was also solid.
Josiah Yazdani made a 45-yard field goal with 4:18 left in the first quarter to give Ohio an early lead, but CMU answered on its next drive when Rush completed a 17-yard touchdown pass to Connor Odykirk.
Ron Coluzzi made a 27-yard field goal to put the visitors up early in the second quarter, and the score remained 10-3 heading into halftime.
The Chippewas were the first to score in the second half, as Coluzzi knocked through a 36-yard field goal at the 2:37 mark of the third quarter.
Ohio continued to fight and brought the game within three points after Tettleton completed a five-yard touchdown toss to Troy Hill as time expired in the third.
The Bobcats regained the lead for the first time since the first quarter early on in the final stanza, as Tettleton hooked up with Cochran on a 69-yard touchdown pass to give Ohio a 17-13 lead with 13:21 remaining.
CMU reclaimed the lead with 9:07 left. A seven-yard touchdown pass from Rush to Lavallii gave the Chippewas a two-point advantage after the extra point attempt was blocked
Ohio would not be outdone and scored on a one-yard rush by Ryan Boykin. The score remained 23-19 after a failed two-point conversion with 4:42 left on the clock.
A muffed punt by Travis Carrie gave CMU the ball back with 2:47 left on Ohio's 39-yard line. This allowed for the Chippewas to score the game-winning touchdown with 22 seconds remaining as Rush completed a five-yard scoring strike to Courtney Williams.
CMU actually had fewer total yards (432) than Ohio (439), but the Chippewas had nearly 36 minutes of possession time and converted 9-of-17 third-down attempts.