Conner, Pitt slip past Bowling Green

Pittsburgh Wins Little Caesars Pizza Bowl

Tyler Boyd mixed for 242 yards and a punt return for a landing in Pittsburgh's 30-27 win over Bowling Green.

Pittsburgh Wins Little Caesars Pizza Bowl


DETROIT – The best way James Conner and Tyler Boyd played in their first postseason recreation, it is no marvel Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst is worked up about next season.

With a pair of freshmen leading the way – and breaking some lengthy-standing school information in the process – the Panthers edged Bowling Green 30-27 on Thursday night within the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Conner rushed for 229 yards. Boyd caught eight passes for 173 yards and scored on a punt return.

"We clearly have some great younger expertise, and that is why we are so confident about the way forward for this program," Chryst stated. "We think we're in great shape going ahead."

Conner broke a Pittsburgh bowl file for yards rushing held by Tony Dorsett, and Chris Blewitt kicked a tiebreaking subject purpose with 1:17 remaining.

Conner even performed a handful of snaps on the defensive line. Boyd gave Pitt (7-6) a boost along with his versatility as well.

One star the Panthers must replace is Aaron Donald, their All-American on the line of defense. Donald, a senior, helped thwart any last-ditch comeback with a sack deep in Bowling Green territory in the final minute.

"They have been with out query the most bodily crew we faced all season," stated Adam Scheier, Bowling Green's interim coach. "The offensive line was tough, the running back was clearly a bear to tackle and the entire defensive line was disruptive. We knew we needed to keep Donald and their different guys out of our backfield, but we couldn't do it."

Scheier took over after Wake Forest hired coach Dave Clawson away from the Falcons. Scheier coached the bowl, but now Dino Babers takes over.

James Connor

Andrew Weber/USA AT THE MOMENT Sports activities

James Conner set a Pitt document with 229 yards in the Panthers' bowl win over Bowling Green.

Dorsett rushed for 202 yards in Pitt's win over Georgia within the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1977. The school's receiving file for a bowl came the following season. In a Gator Bowl win over Clemson, Gordon Jones had 163 yards receiving.

Each marks fell Thursday.

The 6-foot-2, 230-pound Conner rushed for one hundred sixty five yards in the second half, serving to Pitt overcome the loss of quarterback Tom Savage, who did not play after halftime because of a rib damage. Conner and the Panthers drove fifty one yards in seven plays late in the fourth quarter to arrange a 39-yard kick by Blewitt, who had missed from the same distance earlier.

Then Conner was back on the field on defense, serving to the Panthers defend the lead.

"After the final game, Coach instructed me they needed to unleash me on each side of the ball, so I have been getting plenty of reps each ways," Conner stated. "I used to be fairly tired by the tip, but I wasn't going to faucet out. They stored giving me the ball, so I just stored working."

Chad Voytik relieved Savage and put Pitt forward 27-20 with a 5-yard landing run in the fourth quarter, but the Falcons – who upset Northern Illinois in Detroit in the Mid-American Conference title game earlier this month – tied it on Matt Johnson's 15-yard strike to Ryan Burbrink with 4:42 to play.

Boyd's fifty four-yard punt return gave the Panthers a 17-3 lead in the second quarter. Bowling Green (10-four) rallied, tying it at 17 on a 94-yard kickoff return by BooBoo Gates to begin the second half.

Bowling Green appeared to catch a break on the kick return by Gates. A tussle behind the play drew a flag as Gates approached the objective line, but officers dominated the touchdown stood, with offsetting penalties after the play.

The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl faces an uncertain future now that the Detroit Lions have determined to get into the bowl business and will host a recreation subsequent season. If this game vanishes from the bowl lineup, this was an entertaining finale.

Conner put Pitt ahead 7-three with a 15-yard scoring run close to the end of the first quarter. Boyd almost misplaced his balance making an attempt to stay inbounds at the end of his punt return, however he was in a position to reach the top zone.

"I knew I had to keep inbounds, because I am not in the aim-line package deal," Boyd said. "So if I stepped out, I wouldn't get an opportunity to score."

The Falcons rallied thanks in part to an ailing-timed loss of self-discipline by Donald, who picked up an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty with Bowling Green about to punt from its own territory. The Falcons ended up scoring on the drive when Alex Bayer took Johnson's brief move on fourth-and-1 and turned it right into a 29-yard landing to make it 17-10.

Savage completed eight passes within the first half. Seven of them went to Boyd, for 111 yards.

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