Tuesday, September 02, 2008
Bowling Green Pulls a Few Tricks Before Springing an Upset
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 31, 2008
PITTSBURGH (AP) — A whistle sounded prematurely, stripping Bowling Green of a possible winning touchdown against No. 25 Pittsburgh, but it was not long before the Falcons got a second chance.
Tyler Sheehan ran 11 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback draw early in the fourth quarter, two plays after Pittsburgh’s fourth turnover, and Bowling Green rallied for a 27-17 victory against the No. 25 Panthers.
The Falcons (1-0), who beat Minnesota in their opener last season, earned their second win over a Bowl Championship Series conference team in two years by bouncing back from a 14-0 deficit. It was the first victory by a Mid-American Conference program at Pittsburgh; Pitt previously was 25-2 over all against the MAC, including 24-0 at home.
“Unless you study the game, you don’t understand the implications of a win like that,” Bowling Green Coach Gregg Brandon said. “We’re not supposed to beat these people.”
Falcons linebacker John Haneline and several teammates said they had read earlier in the week that no MAC team had won at Pitt.
“Everybody just said, ‘Why not us now, why wait?’ ” Haneline said.
Anthony Turner scored on an 8-yard run set up by quarterback Sheehan’s 22-yard completion to tight end Jimmy Scheidler, who earlier scored two touchdowns, to give Bowling Green its first lead at 20-17 with 3 minutes 53 seconds left in the third quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Bowling Green defensive back Kenny Lewis caused Cedric McGee to fumble, then scooped up the ball for an apparent 67-yard scoring return with 13:30 remaining.
An inadvertent whistle brought the ball back to the Falcons 35, and Bowling Green was forced to punt. But on Pitt’s next possession, cornerback Antonio Smith forced another fumble and Angelo Magnone returned it six yards to the Pitt 11.
Sheehan, who was 24 of 40 for 163 yards, scored two plays later.
Pitt rushed for only 46 yards in the final three quarters after outgaining the Falcons by 137-6 in the first quarter.
“We made so many mistakes today and the defense had my number,” Pitt running back LeSean McCoy said. “I’m sure the team is hurt. I’m sure nobody expected this. It’s tough.”
McCoy ran for 1,328 yards last year, the best freshman season by a Pitt runner since Tony Dorsett in 1973, but he was held to 71 yards on 23 carries against Bowling Green. He did not have a run longer than 12 yards.
Pittsburgh, a 13-point favorite, had a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter after McCoy scored on an 11-yard run and Derek Kinder caught a 4-yard pass from Bill Stull (29 of 51, 264 yards).
McCoy’s fumble at the Falcons 48 late in the second quarter led to Scheidler’s 3-yard touchdown catch. The score came on a misdirection play on which everyone except Scheidler pulled right as he broke open in the left flat.
Bowling Green also relied on gadgetry to tie the score, with wide receiver Freddie Barnes lining up at quarterback to throw a 3-yard pass to Scheidler.
Conor Lee’s 36-yard field goal gave Pitt a 17-14 lead on the final play before halftime, but only after Pitt passed up the chance to go for a touchdown.
McCoy did not seem pleased with the conservative play-calling, which came after Pitt punted from the Bowling Green 35 and 34 early in the game.
“It would have been nice to get a touchdown but, you know, we follow the leader,” McCoy said of Coach Dave Wannstedt.