Pittsburgh 30, Bowling Green 27: Freshmen star, then late FG wins it for Pitt

Friday December 27, 2013 1:29 PM
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DETROIT — Freshman James Conner rushed for 229 yards — breaking a Pittsburgh bowl record held by Tony Dorsett — and Chris Blewitt kicked a tiebreaking field goal with 1:17 remaining, lifting the Panthers to a 30-27 win over Bowling Green last night in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl.

Conner also played a handful of snaps on the defensive line, and fellow freshman Tyler Boyd gave Pitt a boost with eight catches for 173 yards, a Panthers bowl record for receiving yardage. Boyd also scored on a punt return in the first half.

The 6-foot-2 Conner rushed for 165 yards in the second half, helping Pitt overcome the loss of quarterback Tom Savage, who didn’t play after halftime because of a rib injury. Conner and the Panthers (7-6) drove 51 yards in seven plays late in the fourth quarter to set up a 39-yard kick by Blewitt, who had missed from the same distance earlier.

Aaron Donald, Pitt’s All-America defensive lineman, helped thwart any last-ditch comeback with a sack deep in Bowling Green territory.

“They were without question the most physical team we faced all season,” said Adam Scheier, Bowling Green’s interim coach. “The offensive line was tough, the running back was obviously a bear to tackle and the whole defensive line was disruptive. We knew we had to keep Donald and their other guys out of our backfield, but we couldn’t do it.”

The Falcons (10-4) got a 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown by BooBoo Gates to start the second half.

POINSETTIA BOWL

 

Utah State 21, No. 24 Northern Illinois 14: Joey DeMartino ran for 143 yards and the winning touchdown, and Utah State held Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch in check in defeating Northern Illinois in San Diego.

DeMartino’s 1-yard touchdown with 10 minutes left put the Aggies (9-5) ahead 21-7. Lynch threw his only touchdown pass with 1:59 remaining to make it a seven-point game, but the Huskies (12-2) were out of timeouts and couldn’t come up with the onside kick.

Lynch completed 20 of 35 passes for 216 yards and was intercepted once. More tellingly, he ran for only 42 yards on 18 carries, including a 1-yard touchdown that put Northern Illinois ahead 7-6 at the half. Lynch also fumbled once.

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