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College Football
Preview
Pittsburgh vs Bowling Green
When: 6:00 PM ET, Thursday, December 26, 2013
Where: Ford Field, Detroit, Michigan


LITTLE CAESARS BOWL STORYLINES

1. Bowling Green returns to Ford Field for the second time in 20 days on Dec. 26 when it faces Pittsburgh in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. The Falcons claimed their first MAC Championship in 21 years with a 47-27 victory over previously undefeated Northern Illinois, but they will make this trip to Detroit without Dave Clawson, who filled the coaching vacancy at Wake Forest after turning Bowling Green around in five seasons. Special teams coordinator Adam Scheier will serve as the interim coach.

2. For the first time since 2009, the Panthers will spend the postseason somewhere else besides Birmingham, Ala. Pittsburgh concluded each of its last three years in the BBVA Compass Bowl, defeating Kentucky at the end of the its 2010 season before ending the last two campaigns with losses to Southern Methodist and Mississippi.

3. The Falcons rank fifth in the country in scoring defense (14.8 points) and eighth in total defense (308.7 yards), but the most dominant defensive player on the field figures to be Panthers defensive tackle Aaron Donald. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner and ACC Defensive Player of the Year leads the nation in tackles for loss (26.5), is tied for eighth in forced fumbles (four) and tied for 13th in sacks (10).

TV: 6 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Bowling Green -6

ABOUT PITTSBURGH (6-6, 3-5 ACC): Donald, who is also a finalist for the Lombardi, Bednarik and Outland Trophies, is the first Pitt defensive player to win a national award since Hugh Green claimed the Lombardi, Maxwell and Walter Camp awards in 1980. With 77 catches for 1,001 yards, Tyler Boyd broke Larry Fitzgerald’s school record of 69 receptions by a freshman and needs only five more yards to surpass him in that category. Devin Street is the school’s all-time leading receiver and the first Panther with more than 200 career catches.

ABOUT BOWLING GREEN (10-3, 7-1 MAC): While the defense receives more credit, the offense has done its fair share during the Falcons’ five-game winning streak in which they have outscored opponents 223-44. Matt Johnson, who threw for a career-high 393 yards and broke a MAC championship record with five touchdown passes, has thrown for at least three scores four times during the winning streak. Travis Greene has rushed for over 100 yards nine times and ran for 1,575 yards this season, both of which are school records.

PREDICTION: Bowling Green 31, Pittsburgh 20

Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Pittsburgh 6-6 L1 26.0 27.2 4-3 2-3 5-5 0-0 3-5
Bowling Green 10-3 W5 35.4 14.8 5-1 5-2 0-1 1-0 8-1
Last Meeting
Pittsburgh Bowling Green
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
8/30/08 BGSU 27 PITT 17 393 129 264 254 64 190
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Pittsburgh B. Stull 56.9 264 1 1
Bowling Green T. Sheehan 60.0 163 1 1
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Pittsburgh L. McCoy 23 71 3.1 1
Bowling Green C. Bullock 7 44 6.3 0
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Pittsburgh C. McGee 6 55 9.2 0
Bowling Green C. Bullock 7 49 7.0 0
Touchdowns Player TD
Pittsburgh D. Kinder 1
Bowling Green J. Scheidler 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
Pittsburgh T. Savage 61.2 2834 21 9
Bowling Green M. Johnson 64.4 3195 23 7
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
Pittsburgh I. Bennett 166 795 4.8 7
Bowling Green T. Greene 261 1555 6.0 11
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
Pittsburgh T. Boyd 77 1001 13.0 7
Bowling Green S. Joplin 48 822 17.1 3
Touchdowns Player TD
Pittsburgh I. Bennett 8
Bowling Green T. Greene 13
Quickchart Matchup
Pittsburgh Off vs  Bowling Green Def
351.8 yards
308.7 yards
3.3 yards/rush
4.3 yards/rush
7.5 yards/attempt
5.4 yards/attempt
Bowling Green Off vs  Pittsburgh Def
472.5 yards
374.1 yards
4.9 yards/rush
4.3 yards/rush
9.3 yards/attempt
7.3 yards/attempt