Little Caesar's Bowl preview: BGSU vs. Pitt
Bowling Green (10-3, 7-1 MAC) vs. Pittsburgh (6-6, 3-5 ACC)
December 26, 6 p.m. ET (ESPN)
Bowling Green Players to Watch:
Matt Johnson, QB—If you think Jordan Lynch is the only good quarterback from the MAC, think again. Johnson actually outplayed Lynch in their matchup together, passing for 393 yards and five touchdowns. His 162.4 passer rating is good for No. 10 in the NCAA.
Travis Greene, RB—Greene had a very productive year, rushing for 1,555 yards and 11 touchdowns. He has nine games in which he ran for 100 yards or more, including four with 140 or more.
Pittsburgh Players to Watch:
Tom Savage, QB—One of the only bright spots on this shaky Pitt offense is its gunslinger. Savage has passed for 2,834 yards, 21 touchdowns and nine interceptions this season, but even he has proven to be inconsistent at times.
Devin Street, WR—Street is No. 14 in the country with 16.7 yards per reception (minimum of 50 catches) and is always a home run threat. Pitt will need to look to him for big plays if it wants to beat a strong BGSU defense.
Bowling Green Key to Victory:
Use a heavy dose of Travis Greene. The Falcons are 1-3 when he rushes for under 100 yards and 7-0 when he receives at least 20 carries. Pittsburgh has a medicore front seven and is middle-of-the-road in terms of rush defense (No. 60 overall), but its 160.6 yards per game allowed makes sense for a BGSU win.
Pittsburgh Key to Victory:
Protect Tom Savage. Simply put, Pittsburgh is one of the worst in the FBS with 41 sacks allowed (No. 60 overall). Bowling Green is just an above-average pass-rushing team, but could have a field day if it consistently puts pressure on Savage and the backfield. If the Panthers can hold BGSU to two or less sacks, chances are their QB—who averages 5.9 yards per individual play this season—will feel comfortable and make calm decisions.
Line: Bowling Green (-5.5)
Prediction: It’s hard to tell which Pittsburgh offense will show up. Will it be the one that has scored at least 27 points in six games or will it be the one that has scored 17 or less in five? Bowling Green may not have its head coach, but it still has its defensive studs. The Falcons’ fifth-ranked scoring defense (14.8 ppg) and second-ranked red zone defense presents a huge problem for a Panther unit that is 102nd in total offense and 67th in turnover margin.
Bowling Green 29, Pittsburgh 20
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