Pitt to face MAC champ Bowling Green in Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Five years later, Pitt has its rematch with Bowling Green.
After losing four of its final six regular-season games, Pitt accepted an invitation Sunday night to play Mid-American Conference champion Bowling Green (10-3, 7-1) on Dec. 26 in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit.
Pitt owns an all-time record of 29-3 against MAC schools, including a 27-17 loss to Bowling Green in the 2008 opener. Pitt finished 9-4 that season, but the loss was one of the most deflating in Pitt history after a 13-9 upset victory against No. 2 West Virginia to end the 2007 season.
The Panthers will play in a postseason game for the sixth consecutive season. They played the past three years in the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham, Ala., where they went 1-2.
Pitt is one of a record 11 ACC bowl-eligible teams. But Pitt (6-6, 3-5) was forced to settle for a game that is not affiliated with the conference because the ACC has firm ties to only nine bowls.
All 11 teams accepted bowl bids, led by ACC champion Florida State. The Seminoles will play Auburn in the national championship game Jan. 6. Pitt and Maryland (7-5, 3-5) are the only bowl-bound ACC teams with losing conference records.
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl has a per-team payout of $750,000.
Bowling Green quarterback Matt Johnson, who threw five touchdown passes Friday in a 47-27 victory against previously undefeated Northern Illinois in the MAC championship game, was hoping to play Pitt in the Little Caesars Bowl. He tweeted before bowl officials and the ACC announced Bowling Green's opponent: “Please be Pitt. Remember when I was too short to play for you.”
Johnson (6-foot, 194 pounds) was a three-star recruit from Bishop McDevitt in Harrisburg in 2011.
While leading the upset of Northern Illinois, Johnson completed 21 of 27 passes for 393 yards against the Huskies, who were rankedNo. 14 and would have gone to a BCS bowl with a victory.
“We're excited for the chance to play in another game against such a quality opponent,” Pitt coach Paul Chryst said in a statement released by Pitt officials. “Bowling Green was impressive not only in its MAC championship win but all season long, and we have a competitive game of football ahead.”
Bowling Green has won five games in a row. Two of its losses were on the road to Indiana of the Big Ten, 42-10, and Mississippi State of the SEC, 21-20. Bowling Green also lost at home to Toledo, 28-25. After the Toledo game, Bowling Green started its winning streak, outscoring five opponents 223-44.
In 13 games, Johnson completed 217 of 337 passes for 3,195 yards and 23 touchdowns. Running back Travis Greene ran for a school-record 1,555 yards this season.
Jerry DiPaola is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach him at email@example.com or via Twitter @JDiPaola_Trib.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Pitt notebook: Chryst didn’t lobby to keep Watt at tight end
- Discipline Pitt’s only option against Georgia Tech
- All signs positive for Pitt junior forward Johnson
- Sophomore guard Jones shows off range in Pitt’s Blue-Gold scrimmage
- In weak ACC Coastal Division, Pitt football team still has hope
- Pitt notebook: Zone-read plays suit Voytik’s strengths
- Pitt’s Dixon expecting more from point guard Robinson
- Pitt’s defense has not rested in post-Donald era