(Saturday, August 30th)
Final Score: Bowling Green 27, (25) Pittsburgh 17
Pittsburgh, PA (Sports Network) - Tyler Sheehan threw a touchdown pass and added one on the ground, and the Bowling Green defense forced three second- half Pittsburgh turnovers that allowed the Falcons to hand the 25th-ranked Panthers a 27-17 setback at Heinz Field.
The Falcons (1-0) were dominated by the Panthers early on, managing just six yards of offense in the first quarter while falling behind 14-0 early in the second. However, Bowling Green scored 14 points off Pittsburgh (0-1) turnovers en route to winning its second straight season opener.
Sheehan threw for 163 yards on 24-of-40 passing, while Anthony Turner's touchdown run in the third frame put the Falcons ahead for good. Kenny Lewis, Erique Dozier and Antonio Smith all forced fumbles in the victory.
LeSean McCoy, who last season became just the third true freshman in Big East history to rush for 1,000 yards, was held to 71 yards on 23 carries for the Panthers, who had won 10 of their last 11 season openers and lost to a Mid- American Conference team in their opener for the first time in school history (8-1).
LaRod Stephens-Howling added 71 yards on just seven carries, while Bill Stull finished 29-of-51 passing with 264 yards and an interception through the air for Pittsburgh, which fell to 16-20 under head coach Dave Wannstedt since he took over prior to the 2005 season.
Trailing by three heading into the second half, Bowling Green outgained Pittsburgh 102-34 in the third quarter while holding the ball for 11:07. The Falcons took their first lead of the game in the frame, as a 22-yard pass by Sheehan to Jimmy Scheidler put the Falcons at the 19. Later, Turner, lined up at the quarterback spot, ended the march with an eight-yard scoring run with 3:53 to go. The extra point was blocked, however, making it a 20-17 game.
Bowling Green seemed to have extended its lead when Lewis forced Pittsburgh's Cedric McGee to fumble at the Falcon 35 before taking the miscue to the end zone. However, an inadvertent whistle after the turnover killed the play at the spot of the fumble and wiped out the TD return.
The Falcons went three and out but the Bowling Green defense quickly got the ball back, as Smith hit Stull as he was attempting a pass, forcing a fumble that Angelo Magnone recovered and took to the Panther 11.
After nearly throwing a pick, Sheehan took the ball himself right up the middle on the next play for a score and a 27-17 edge with 11:59 left in the fourth quarter.
The Panthers marched their next drive to the Bowling Green 44, but three straight incomplete passes led to a 4th-and-10. Stull tried to extend the drive with a pass attempt to Derek Kinder, but was off the mark.
Though the Falcons failed to find the scoreboard again, their defense held strong, and Pittsburgh's Conor Lee missed a 42-yard field goal attempt with 3:58 left in the game to seal the Panthers' fate.
The Panthers used their ground game to control things early, getting an 11- yard scoring run by McCoy 3:48 into the game.
Pittsburgh's advantage swelled to 14-0, as the school began a late first quarter drive with nine straight runs that carried the march into the second frame and deep into Falcon territory. Stull then found Kinder in the end zone from four yards out with 11:02 left in the stanza before the Falcons started moving the ball.
Bowling Green passed the midfield marker for the first time midway through the second, and Chris Bullock turned in a big play with a 36-yard run to the five to set up wide out Freddie Barnes' TD lob to Scheidler with 8:01 to go.
Bullock ran for 44 yards on seven carries in the win and added a team-high seven catches for 49 yards.
A McCoy fumble in the second led to a three-yard TD pass by Sheehan to Scheidler, evening the game with 1:31 until the break. The Bowling Green offense posted 137 yards in the second quarter, totaling six first downs after its awful start.
Pittsburgh was able to convert a short kickoff into an eventual field goal, with Lee's 36-yard boot as time expired, sending the Panthers into the locker room with a 17-14 edge.
Pittsburgh fell to 2-1 all-time versus Bowling Green and 25-3 in school history versus the MAC...The Falcons defeated Minnesota in overtime to win their season opener last year and are 3-3 under head coach Gregg Brandon in their first game of the season...Since becoming head coach in 2003, Brandon has guided Bowling Green to a 12-10 mark in 22 games against non-MAC opponents...McGee ended with six catches for 55 yards, while Kinder hauled in six passes for 47 yards.
08/30 16:33:38 ET