Derby were strong favourites to beat the relegation strugglers but Wigan had the better chances and would have won with better finishing.
Will Gregg hit the post and was denied by Scott Carson in the first half while Derby’s best moment came when a Tom Ince was superbly denied in the second.
Derby had not conceded at home in almost 11 hours since Danny Graham scored a 73rd-minute winner for Blackburn on September 24th but that record was nearly ended in the 11th minute.
Wigan’s first attack of the game led to a corner from Jordi Gomez which Gregg volleyed against a post and Dan Burn’s follow-up was cleared by Darren Bent.
It clearly lifted Wigan who had lost their last five games and they went close again in the 14th minute when former Derby defender Stephen Warnock swung the ball in and Carson had to dive to his right to keep out a header from another ex-Ram Michael Jacobs.
The game certainly was not going with the form book and Wigan had another opening in the 25th minute when Yanic Wildschut got in on the left but his low cross was behind Gregg.
Carson denied Wigan again in the 30th minute when Gregg intercepted a Will Hughes pass and ran clear but his shot was parried by the keeper and Derby responded with a run from Ikechi Anya who set up Johnny Russell but he fired over from just inside the area.
Derby ended the half on the front foot, forcing several corners, but Wigan had another chance on the break when Wildschut got free on the left but his pass lacked conviction.
There was no lack of belief from Gomez in the 48th minute when he surged forward and unleashed a dipping shot which had Carson stretching before it just cleared the bar.
Derby made a double substitution in the 59th minute with Craig Bryson and Abdoul Camara replacing Jacob Butterfield and Russell but it was Ince who almost scored in the 65th minute with a 25 yard free kick that Jussi Jaaskelainen saved brilliantly.
Wigan were coming under pressure as Bent and Will Hughes both had shots blocked before Bent was replaced by Matej Vydra in the 73rd minute as Derby looked for a way to breakthrough.
It almost came in the 82nd minute when Ince found Hughes in the area but his low shot rolled just wide of the far post and Wigan survived four minutes of stoppage time to claim an unlikely but well earned point.