Purdue dominated the first half of the game, scoring 3 touchdowns in the first quarter to Central's 2 field goals, and by halftime they had assured a 21-point lead over the Chippewas. Central came back in the third quarter, scoring 4 touchdowns to tie the game. The final score was 51–48, with Purdue kicker Chris Summers kicking a game-winning field goal as time expired. Purdue quarterbackCurtis Painter threw for 543 pass yards, setting a Motor City Bowl record and placing him fourth on the list of all-time bowl game performances. His total broke the Purdue school record.
The attendance of 60,624 broke the Motor City Bowl record, which had been set in 2006 by Central Michigan and Middle Tennessee (54,113).