by CollegeFootballPoll.com Staff
December 26, 2013
Underdog Pittsburgh secured its first winning season since 2010 with a 30-27 upset of Bowling Green in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl in Detroit on Thursday night (December 26).
The Panthers finished 7-6 while the MAC champions dropped to 10-4.
Chris Blewitt booted a 39-yard field goal with 1:17 left in the game and Bowling Green went nowhere on its final possession. Pitt had closed each of the last two seasons with bowl losses to wind up with 6-7 records.
Bowling Green was a projected 13-point winner in the contest by the Congrove Computer Rankings.
BGSU lost head coach Dave Clawson when he was named the new head coach at Wake Forest on December 10. Clawson had just finished leading BGSU to its first MAC title since 1992 and completed his tenure with the Falcons with a 32-31 record. That tally may seem unimpressive on the surface, but consider that the last two teams he had with his recruits were 18-8 overall and 13-3 in the MAC.
Adam Scheier, an assistant head coach under Clawson, served as interim head coach for the bowl game.
Scheier now steps aside for incoming head coach Dino Babers. Babers led Eastern Illinois into the FCS playoffs this season, finishing 12-2 after a loss to Towson in the second round. His QB at Eastern Illinois, Jimmy Garoppolo, passed for 5,050 yards and 53 TD's this season. While at Baylor, Babers coached Robert Griffin III.
Pittsburgh improved its bowl record 13-17 as a pair of freshmen helped lead the team to victory. James Conner had 229 yards to break Tony Dorsett's school record for Pitt in a bowl game, and QB Chad Voytik ran for A TD and threw for 108 yards after Tom Savage was held out of the second half because of a rib injury.
BooBoo Gates erased a 17-10 Pitt halftime lead with a 94-yard kick-off return to begin the 2nd half.
Bowling Green saw its overall bowl record fall to 4-6 with a fourth straight bowl loss. The Falcons haven't won a bowl game since beating Memphis 52-35 in the 2004 season GMAC Bowl, now known as the GoDaddy.com Bowl.