The win came in the Little Caesars Bowl and allowed the Chippewas to finish off a 7-6 season with four straight wins.
Western Kentucky took the lead late in the third quarter on a 1-yard run by Kadeem Jones and with time becoming a factor in the fourth period Central Michigan drove to the Hilltoppers' 1-yard line.
The Chippewas went for the touchdown on fourth down and appeared to have scored one on a run by Zurlon Tipton. A replay challenge by Western Kentucky, however, showed Tipton was stopped just short of the goal line, allowing the Hilltoppers to keep the lead.
Western Kentucky could not move the ball after that good fortune and Central Michigan soon took over at the Hilltoppers' 26 following a short punt. Radcliff drove Central Michigan those 26 yards in four plays and produced his third touchdown pass of the game.
The game was not decided until Western Kentucky ran out of downs at the Central Michigan 19-yard line with 49 seconds to play. The Hilltoppers turned down a chance at a game-tying field goal in a bid to convert a 4th-and-2 play.
Kawaun Jakes, however, threw an incompletion that ended Western Kentucky's hopes.
Radcliff went 18-of-30 for 255 yards without an interception. Kawaun Jakes completed 14-of-24 passes for 199 yards and one touchdown. Antonio Andrews picked up 119 rushing yards for the Hilltoppers, who finished 7-6. Western Kentucky faded after opening the season with a 5-1 record.
Central Michigan was the third team from the Mid-American Conference to take part in a bowl game this season and it was the first one to post a victory.