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Bowling Green Falcons vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/26/13

Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6) at Bowling Green Falcons (10-3)

College Football: Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 6:00 pm (Ford Field)

The Line: Bowling Green Falcons -5.5 -- Over/Under: 50 See the Latest Odds


The Bowling Green Falcons play the Pittsburgh Panthers in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl on Thursday.

Bowling Green finished the season with a 10-3 record overall and 7-1 in the MAC. The Falcons return to Ford Field for the second time in 20 days after winning the MAC Championship 47-27 over previously undefeated Northern Illinois. However, they will make the trip back without head coach 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. Bowling Green ranks fifth in the country in scoring defense at 14.8 points per contest and eighth in total defense at 308.7 yards per game. 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. QB Matt Johnson, who threw for a career-high 393 yards and broke a MAC championship record with five touchdowns passes, has thrown for at least three scores four times during the winning streak. RB Travis Greene has rushed for over 100 yards nine times and ran for 1,575 yards this season, both of which are school records.

Bowling Green Falcons vs. Pittsburgh Panthers Little Caesars Pizza Bowl Pick-Odds-Prediction 12/26/13

Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Panthers finished 6-6 overall and 3-5 in the ACC. For the first time since 2009, the Panthers will spend the postseason somewhere else besides Birmingham, Alabama. Pittsburgh concluded each of its last three years in the BBVA Compass Bowl, defeating Kentucky at the end of its 2010 season before ending the last two campaigns with losses to SMU and Mississippi. The Panthers offense is producing 351.8 total yards and 26 points per game on average this year. QB Savage has thrown for 2,834 yards with 21 touchdowns and 9 interceptions. WR 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. QR Devin Street is the school’s all-time leading receiver and the first Panther with more than 200 career catches. The Pittsburgh defense is allowing 374.1 yards and 27.2 points per game on average this season. The most dominant defensive player on the field figures to be Panthers DT Aaron Donald. The Bronko Nagurski Trophy winner and ACC Defensive Player of the Year leads the nation in tackles for a loss with 26.5, is tied for eighth in forced fumbles with 4, and tied for 13th in sacks with 10 this season.

This game on paper sets up to be a low scoring affair, but with these two teams facing off inside a dome and with playmakers on both teams I could see this game going over the total. I think Bowling Green has the edge on both sides of the ball. The Falcons have been hot lately and I don’t think the short time off will hurt them. Bowling Green wins and covers in this one.

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