Central Michigan scored what proved to be a game-winning touchdown with five minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, and a fourth-down pass play for WKU fell incomplete as the Hilltoppers fell 24-21 Wednesday night in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field.
WKU ended the 2012 season with a 7-6 record, playing in the first Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision game in school history.
"I am so proud of this group. The have been through so much in the last few weeks," said WKU interim head coach Lance Guidry. "I'm proud of the way we played tonight. We left some plays out of the field that might have changed the outcome, but sometimes that's how the cookie crumbles."
WKU shot 50% in the second half and had just seven second-half turnovers Saturday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn., but the 5th-ranked Louisville Cardinals earned a 78-55 win to wrap up WKU's non-conference slate for 2012-13.
A crowd of 10,728 was on-hand to see WKU and Louisville begin a new four-year series of games. The loss is WKU's third-straight, all coming against teams that went a combined 90-19 and won at least one game in the NCAA Tournament a season ago, and drops the Hilltoppers' record to 8-5. Louisville improves to 11-1.