College Football

more stats

Pitt edges Bowling Green in Little Caesars Bowl

Detroit, MI (SportsNetwork.com) - Chad Voytik came on in relief and helped lead Pittsburgh to a postseason victory, as Chris Blewitt's 39-yard field goal with 1:17 remaining gave the Panthers a 30-27 win over Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field.

Voytik, a redshirt freshman, ran for a key touchdown after relieving injured starting quarterback Tom Savage in the second half and played mistake-free ball as James Conner and Tyler Boyd carried Pitt (7-6) to its first bowl victory and winning season since 2010.

Conner set the Panthers' bowl rushing record with 229 yards and a touchdown on 26 carries, while Boyd returned a punt for a score and caught eight passes for a 173 yards.

"The offensive line had a big part in it," Conner said of his big game. "It was a team effort."

New Bowling Green head coach Dino Babers watched from the sideline as the MAC- champion Falcons (10-4) rallied from an early 14-point deficit before falling just short of tying a program record for wins in a season.

Matt Johnson threw for 272 yards with two touchdowns, but took two costly sacks on Bowling Green's final possession.

Boyd was nowhere to be found after Savage suffered a rib injury late in the first half. Content to run with Voytik at the helm, the Panthers used Conner to do most of the work on offense.

"I was surprised at how many tackles he was breaking," Bowling Green defensive back BooBoo Gates said of Conner. "They were one of the most physical teams we've played all year."

Despite Conner's effective running, the Falcons battled back as Pitt failed to build on its early lead, and it was all even at 20-20 heading to the fourth before Boyd finally got loose on a stop-and-go.

Voytik hit Boyd in stride for a huge 62-yard gain, and the frosh called his own number with a 5-yard bootleg into the end zone to put Pitt in front.

Bowling Green did not go quietly, however, as Johnson and Ryan Burbrink hooked up for a tying 15-yard touchdown with 4:42 remaining.

Voytik rolled out for a 19-yard gain to midfield on the ensuing drive, and four straight runs by Conner totaled 29 yards to set up Blewitt's game-winner.

The Falcons went backward on their last possession. Aaron Donald, Pitt's decorated defensive tackle, swallowed up Johnson for an 11-yard loss after an offensive holding penalty, Tyrone Ezell nearly pulled the quarterback down for a safety on the next snap, and a lateral-filled final play went for naught.

Bowling Green's Tyler Tate opened the scoring on a 28-yard field goal with 4:26 to go in the opening quarter, and Conner punched one in from 15 yards out to cap a 7-play, 50-yard drive.

Boyd was the star of the second quarter, as his 46-yard reception set the stage for Blewitt's 25-yard field goal 6:31 into the period. Less than two minutes later, Boyd took back a punt 54 yards for a score after tiptoeing down the left sideline. The punt return for a TD was Pitt's first since Darrelle Revis pulled off the feat against West Virginia on Nov. 16, 2006.

The Falcons gained some momentum going into the break when Johnson found Alex Bayer for a 29-yard score on a fourth-down play. The 10-play, 67-yard march was kept alive when Donald was whistled for unsportsmanlike conduct following a sack on third down.

The game was suddenly tied when Gates opened the second half with a remarkable 94-yard kickoff return for a touchdown -- the second-longest in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl history.

Tate and Blewitt exchange field goals later in the third quarter to send the game tied at 20-20 heading to the fourth.

Game Notes

Tony Dorsett held Pitt's previous bowl rushing record, totaling 202 yards in the 1977 Sugar Bowl ... Voytik threw for 108 yards on 5-of-9 passing after Savage completed 8-of-13 passes for 124 yards ... Bowling Green had 10 net rushing yards after averaging 207.1 during the regular season ... Adam Scheier served as Bowling Green's interim coach after Dave Clawson accepted the head coach position at Wake Forest ... Pitt outgained the Falcons 487 yards to 289 yards... Bowling Green has not won a bowl game since defeating Memphis in the 2004 GMAC Bowl.

12/27 00:27:19 ET

Other Stories

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Saturday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NASCAR: Toyota Owner's 400 from Richmond

    Saturday at 7:00 pm on FOX50

  • PGA: Zurich Classic of New Orleans

    Sunday at 3:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Today at 11:05 am on 620am

  • MiLB: Bulls at Charlotte

    Tomorrow at 7:05 pm on 620am

  • MLB: LA Angels at NY Yankees

    Saturday at 1:05 pm on 99.9 The Fan

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CHR 4
DUR 8
 
11:05am Today
CHR
DUR
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
Final
PIT 1
CIN 4
Final
CLE 2
KAN 8
Final
WAS 2
ANA 7
Final
TOR 9
BAL 3
Final
DET 8
CWS 6
Final
ATL 0
MIA 1
Final
TAM 7
MIN 3
Final
BOS 3
NYY 9
Final
NYM 0
STL 3
Final
CHC 9
ARI 2
Final
MIL 1
SDP 2
Final
COL 2
SFG 1
Final
OAK 4
TEX 5
Final
SEA 2
HOU 5
Final
LOS 2
PHI 3
12:10pm Today
ATL
MIA
 
2:20pm Today
CHC
ARI
 
3:10pm Today
COL
SFG
 
3:35pm Today
OAK
TEX
 
3:40pm Today
SEA
HOU
 
7:05pm Tonight
PIT
CIN
 
7:05pm Tonight
CLE
KAN
 
7:05pm Tonight
WAS
ANA
 
7:07pm Tonight
TOR
BAL
 
7:08pm Tonight
DET
CWS
 
7:10pm Tonight
TAM
MIN
 
7:10pm Tonight
BOS
NYY
 
7:10pm Tonight
NYM
STL
 
8:10pm Tonight
MIL
SDP
 
10:10pm Tonight
LOS
PHI
 
Final
IND 101
ATL 85
Final
TOR 100
BRK 95
Final
CHI 99
WAS 101
7:00pm Tonight
MIA
CHA
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
DAL
9:30pm Tonight
HOU
POR
Final
MON 4
TAM 3
Final
DET 0
BOS 3
Final
PHI 1
NYR 4
Final
LOS 3
SJS 4
7:00pm Tonight
CLB
PIT
8:00pm Tonight
DAL
ANA
9:30pm Tonight
CHI
STL
Final
CHR 4
DUR 8
 
11:05am Today
CHR
DUR