Ryan Radcliff threw for 347 yards and two touchdowns for the Chippewas (2-2) but also had two interceptions.
Northwestern led 30-13 early in the fourth quarter before Central Michigan put together a late rally. The Chippewas pulled to within 30-19 on a 1-yard run by Carl Volny with 7:36 to play. Radcliff then connected with Kito Poblah on a 25-yard touchdown pass with 1:11 to go, but the Wildcats recovered the onside kick.
The game was tied 13-13 at halftime before Northwestern scored 17 unanswered points. Stefan Demos's field goal gave the Wildcats the lead early in the third quarter. Ebert then scored on a 25-yard pass one play after an interception by Quentin Williams, and Schmidt's 13-yard TD run made the score 30-13.
Persa was 23 of 30 for 280 yards, and Ebert had five catches for 83 yards.
Radcliff finished 29 of 43 while Volny also had a touchdown catch.
Both teams used a no-huddle offense and combined for over 800 yards. Northwestern totaled 429 yards. Central Michigan finished with 423.