Chippewas upset No. 22 Oklahoma State on last-chance Hail Mary in Stillwater

CMU 30, OSU 27

STILLWATER — The game seemed to be over, until a lingering penalty flag laying on the ground gave Central Michigan football one last chance. 

CMU upset No. 22 Oklahoma State 30-27 on Saturday at Boone Pickens Stadium after senior quarterback Cooper Rush launched a 51-yard Hail Mary pass to senior receiver Jesse Kroll. 

Kroll pitched the ball to Corey Willis, who pivoted left and ran from the nearside hash mark to the far side of the field, and dove into the end zone to score the game-winning touchdown.  

The desperation play, which began with no time on the clock, was allowed after OSU quarterback Mason Rudolph was flagged for intentional grounding.

The officials' decision to award CMU an extra play has received criticism on social media.

Head coach John Bonamego said coaches told players before the improbable score to never go down with the football. 

"It’s touchdown or turnover,” Bonamego said.

READ: MAC official says CMU's final play shouldn't have happened

Rush, who completed 30 of the 42 passes he attempted, threw for 361 yards and four touchdowns. 

On the final play, the three-year starter heaved the ball from CMU's 49-yard-line. 

Rush, like many watching in the stadium and at home on television, thought the game was over.

“I didn’t see the flag," Rush said. "I thought we had just kind of given it away, missed our chances. The next thing you know, we get one more play."

The dramatic win brings back eery memories from a similar Hail Mary play at the end of the 2014 Bahamas Bowl against Western Kentucky.

Kroll, who caught the Hail Mary pass from Rush during the 2014 Bahamas Bowl, said the team practices last-minute Hail Mary passes in practice often. 

“We’ve been running that for awhile, practicing it," he said. "It went pretty much as planned, except Corey was in the wrong spot. He was in the right spot for today, but he was supposed to be behind me."

CMU turned the ball over on the previous two possessions with a fumble and an interception, which allowed OSU to run the clock out. 

As CMU fought to keep up with Oklahoma State's up-tempo offensive strategy, Rush found an unlikely useful target in his junior tight end. 

Tyler Conklin hauled in seven receptions for 96 yards and two touchdowns, including this one-handed catch. It was his first career touchdown.

CMU's defense played strong throughout the game, holding the Cowboys to 57 yards rushing, getting three sacks and forcing a turnover in the end zone on a Josh Cox interception.

The junior cornerback also led the team with nine tackles. 

"I’m very proud of our team, the way we played," Bonamego said. "Not just the last play of the game, but the entire four quarters."