Lance Guidry, coaching the Hilltoppers on an interim basis before Bobby Petrino takes over, decided to play for the win on fourth-and-2 from the 19 with 51 seconds left, but Kawaun Jakes threw incomplete.
Western Kentucky (7-6) fell just short in its first bowl since joining college football's top tier in 2009.
Avery Cunningham blocked a punt for Central Michigan (7-6) to give the Chippewas a short field before Wilson's TD.
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