CFB: Bowling Green upsets No. 25 Pitt, 27-17
PITTSBURGH — Tyler Sheehan ran 11 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback draw early in the fourth quarter as Bowling Green rallied for a 27-17 upset of No. 25 Pittsburgh on Saturday.
The Falcons (1-0), with their second win over a BCS conference school in as many season openers, bounced back from a 14-0 deficit for the first victory by a Mid-American Conference school in Pittsburgh. Pitt previously was 25-2 against the MAC, 8-0 in season openers and 24-0 at home.
Anthony Turner scored on an 8-yard run set up by quarterback Sheehan's 22-yard completion to fullback Jimmy Scheidler, who earlier scored two touchdowns, to give Bowling Green its first lead at 20-17 with 3:53 left in the second quarter.
With Pitt rushing for only 46 yards in the final three quarters, Kenny Lewis caused a Cedric McGee fumble that Lewis scooped up for an apparent 67-yard scoring return with 13:30 remaining.
An inadvertent whistle sent the ball back to the Falcons' 35, though, and Bowling Green was forced to punt. But on Pitt's next possession, cornerback Antonio Smith caused a Bill Stull fumble that Angelo Magnone returned six yards to the Pitt 11.
Sheehan (24-of-40, 163 yards) scored two plays later, and the Falcons — despite being outgained 393-254 — went on to their first victory against a Top 25 team since upsetting then-No. 16 Purdue 27-26 on Sept. 6, 2003.
With Pitt star LeSean McCoy repeatedly slowed during a 71-yard day, Pitt (0-1) was dealt its worst upset home loss since a 35-26 defeat in 2001 to South Florida.
Saturday's game was Pitt's first since its 13-9 win at then-No. 2 West Virginia on Dec. 1 cost the Mountaineers a national championship game appearance and seemed to re-energize a Panthers program that hasn't had a winning season or gone to a bowl game since 2004.
Then along came Bowling Green, which upset Minnesota 32-31 in its opener last season and was looking for a game to redeem itself from a 63-7 loss to Tulsa in the GMAC Bowl.
Pittsburgh, a 13-point favorite, opened a 14-0 lead early in the second quarter after McCoy scored from the 11 on the game's opening possession and Derek Kinder caught a 4-yard pass from Stull to finish a quick 41-yard drive.
But the Falcons began stacking eight defenders along the line of scrimmage to slow McCoy. With Stull (29-of-51, 264 yards, one interception) unable to get the ball deep to force Bowling Green to commit more defenders to the pass, McCoy — who ran for 1,328 yards last year in the best season by a Pitt freshman since Tony Dorsett — gained only 26 yards over the next two quarters.
McCoy's fumble at the Falcons' 48 late in the second quarter led to Scheidler's 3-yard touchdown catch on a misdirection play on which everyone except Scheidler pulled right but the fullback was open in the left flat.
Bowling Green relied on more gadgetry to get back into the game, with wide receiver Freddie Barnes lining up at quarterback to throw a 3-yard scoring pass to Scheidler, completing a 73-yard drive in the second quarter that began with Sheehan's 11-yard completion to Barnes and featured Chris Bullock's 36-yard run.
Conor Lee's 36-yard field goal that put Pitt back into the lead at 17-14 on the final play before halftime, but Pitt never scored in the second half.