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Pittsburgh (6-6) vs. Bowling Green (10-3)



Thursday, December 26th, 6 p.m. (et)

The Sports Network

By John Iatesta, Associate College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: The Pittsburgh Panthers will take on the Bowling Green Falcons in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Dec. 26 at Ford Field.

Paul Chryst's Panthers had an up-and-down season that saw wins against both Duke and Notre Dame, but the team's first season in the ACC was still considered a minor disappointment, with a 6-6 overall record and a 3-5 mark in the conference.

Adam Scheier will be the interim coach for the 10-3 Falcons after Dave Clawson accepted the head coach position at Wake Forest. The Falcons are coming off their biggest win of the season, knocking off the Northern Illinois Huskies in the MAC Championship Game, 47-27.

The two teams have only met three times with the Panthers holding the advantage 2-1. In their last meeting however, Bowling Green beat Pittsburgh 27-17 at Heinz Field in 2008.

The Panthers are paced offensively by their passing attack. They are averaging 236.8 yards passing per game, and 12.3 yards per completion. Tom Savage led the aerial attack with 21 touchdowns and only nine interceptions on his 376 passing attempts.

The running game was not as productive for Pittsburgh as they averaged just 114.9 ypg, on just 3.34 yards per carry. The Panthers have two key rushers in Isaac Bennett (4.8 ypc, seven TDs) and James Conner (4.8 ypc, seven TDs).

Outland Trophy and Bednarick Award winner Aaron Donald is the Panthers' top defensive player with 26.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks, which ranks 10th in the nation. Despite his efforts, Pittsburgh is still allowing 27.2 ppg which is 70th in the nation.

This is Pittsburgh's sixth straight bowl appearance and 11th since 2000. If the Panthers win it will be their first winning season since 2008.

Coach Chryst is excited for his team's chances against the Falcons.

"We're excited for the chance to play in another game against such a quality opponent. Bowling Green was impressive not only in their MAC Championship win, but all season long and we have a competitive game of football ahead. We are grateful to the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl and the City of Detroit for offering us this opportunity."

Falcons quarterback Matt Johnson lit up Northern Illinois in the team's last game by throwing for 393 yards and five touchdowns en route to upsetting the then 14th-ranked Huskies.

Johnson has had a very strong year this season and the MAC Championship game just typified that. He threw for 3,195 yards and 23 touchdowns with only seven interceptions.

An efficient passing attacked is backed up by a very strong rushing game. The Falcons are the 27th ranked rushing team in the nation, averaging 207.5 ypg at a clip of 4.9 ypc. Travis Greene led the attack with 1,555 yards on the ground with 11 touchdowns.

Bowling Green was led by its dominant defense this season. The Falcons have the eighth ranked defense by only allowing 308.7 ypg. They also keep teams from scoring by having the fifth ranked scoring defense, allowing just 14.8 points per game.

Coming off the Falcons' first MAC Championship in 21 years and third bowl bid in the last five years, Coach Dave Clawson left for Wake Forest. Scheier has been chosen to take over and patrol the sidelines for Bowling Green in this game. It is a challenge that he is up for.

"I am honored to serve as Bowling Green's interim head coach. The opportunity to lead this group of young men as we put the finishing touches on this special season is both humbling and exciting. This team and in particular, this group of seniors, has established a championship culture here at BG and I am confident that we will represent BGSU and the MAC well at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl."

It will be tough for Pittsburgh to overtake the very strong and balanced Falcons. The Panthers have had some good wins this season but there up-and- down year will likely end on a sour note in the Motor City.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Bowling Green 34, Pittsburgh 17

12/20 09:53:40 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14
 
8th
SFG 11
KAN 4
 
Final
WISC 52
MD 7
Final
SMU 10
MEM 48
Final
ILL 28
MINN 24
Final
RICE 41
UNT 21
Final
NEB 42
RUTG 24
Final
KST 23
TEX 0
Final
ARK 45
UAB 17
Final
UVA 27
UNC 28
Final
EMICH 17
NILL 28
Final
NAVY 41
SJST 31
Final
BST 35
AKR 21
Final
GASTATE 31
GASO 69
Final
TOL 42
UMASS 35
Final
WMICH 42
OHIO 21
Final
COL 37
UCLA 40
Final
UMO 10
KSU 3
Final
WAKE 17
BC 23
Final
BUF 14
CMICH 20
Final
MARS 35
FATL 16
Final
PITT 28
GT 56
Final
SMISS 20
LATU 31
Final
MSU 35
MICH 11
Final
KENT 31
MSST 45
Final
STAN 38
ORST 14
Final
TCU 82
TTU 27
Final
OKST 10
WVU 34
Final
WKENT 66
ODU 51
Final
UTST 34
UNLV 20
Final
MIZZ 24
VANDY 14
Final
UCF 34
TEMPL 14
Final
WASU 37
ARZ 59
 
Final
CLEM 16
SYR 6
Final
LAMON 18
TXST 22
 
Final
TXSANANTO 0
UTEP 34
Final
COLST 45
WYO 31
 
Final
LSU 10
MISS 7
 
Final
TENN 20
ALA 34
 
Final
AUB 42
SCAR 35
4th
PSU 17
OSU 17
 
Half
UTAH 10
USC 14
 
2nd
WASH 0
ARST 0
 
11:59pm Tonight
HAW
NEV
Final
SJS 1
BUF 2
Final
TOR 1
BOS 4
Final
NYI 7
DAL 5
Final
PHI 4
DET 2
Final
OTT 2
NJD 3
Final
MON 3
NYR 1
Final
STL 3
CHI 2
Final
NAS 0
PIT 3
Final
MIN 7
TAM 2
2nd Intermission
ARI 1
FLA 1
 
2nd
CAL 1
WAS 2
 
Final
NCCU 42
SAVST 14