Trae Riek rushed for 151 yards for one score and grabbed four passes for 90 yards and another touchdown for Northern Colorado (6-5).
The Bears were leading 33-28 following a Jamie Falloon 44-yard field goal early in the final quarter. Parker McKenzie led Abilene Christian (3-8) on an 83-yard drive, capped by a McKenzie to Cedric Gilbert pass from the 10 to retake the lead 36-33. Knipp answered with a 65-yard drive to claim the lead for good when he hit Stephen Miller on a 13-yard scoring strike.
McKenzie had 330 yards passing and two scores and De'Andre Brown rushed for 176 yards for Abilene Christian.