DETROIT - Chris Summers kicked a 40-yard field goal as time expired in the Motor City Bowl, lifting Purdue to a 51-48 win over Central Michigan last night.
Curtis Painter threw for a school-record 546 yards and three touchdowns, helping the Boilermakers (9-5) build three 21-point leads and set up the winning kick.
Central Michigan's Dan LeFevour threw for 293 yards and four scores and ran for 114 yards and two TDs.
"It was a heck of college football game and it might go down as one of the best bowls," Central Michigan coach Butch Jones said. "Obviously, it didn't turn out the way we wanted it to, but I think you saw something special out there. They fought to the bitter end."
The Mid-American Conference champion Chippewas (8-6) got the Boilermakers' attention with an interception on the third play of the game. They took a 3-0 lead.
Purdue appeared to be rolling toward a rout, leading 27-6 midway through the second quarter, 34-13 at halftime and 41-20 early in the third.
The Chippewas' comeback started with LeFevour's scoring pass to Bryan Anderson at 10 minutes, 19 seconds of the third. The quarterback tied the game with a pair of runs late in the quarter.
Purdue answered with Jaycen Taylor's TD run midway through the fourth quarter and seemed to seal the win with a sack when Central Michigan had the football with 2:15 and no time-outs.
LeFevour wasn't done. He lobbed a pass to Anderson from 20 yards to make it 48-all with 1:09 left.
Mack Brown and Dennis Erickson have combined for 346 victories and three national championships.
Tonight in San Diego, they will coach against each other for the first time when Erickson's No. 12 Arizona State Sun Devils face Brown's 17th-ranked Texas Longhorns in the Holiday Bowl at Qualcomm Stadium.
"It's fun to be able to do it in a setting like this, where it's a bowl game," said Erickson, who led Arizona State to a 10-2 record in his first season in Tempe.
Brown, sitting a few feet from Erickson during a news conference yesterday, saw an opening a few minutes later. He leaned forward and said, "How about your game plan?"
"Well, I think with your speed, I was hoping rain, a soggy field," Erickson answered.
If there was disappointment in getting passed over by the Bowl Championship Series, it quickly disappeared when the Sun Devils learned they would be playing the Longhorns (9-3) for the first time.
Erickson is 158-67-1 in 19 seasons at six schools, ranking ninth in victories among active coaches. Brown is sixth overall in career victories among active coaching, going 188-99-1 in 24 seasons at three schools.