VegasInsider.com
VI Mobile Scores and Betting OddsVI Mobile Scores and Betting Odds Be Social
Home
NFL
NBA
NHL
MLB
NCAA FB
NCAA BK
Golf
Auto
Horses
Boxing/MMA
Fantasy Sports
More
Betting Tools

 
Pittsburgh ready to face Bowling Green

DETROIT (AP) - Pittsburgh defensive tackle Aaron Donald won a slew of awards this year.

Advertisement
The senior is hoping to close the season with a win Thursday night against Bowling Green at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl to help the Panthers finish with a winning record for the first time since he was a freshman.

The Falcons won't be easy to beat.

Bowling Green (10-3) is favored to top the Panthers (6-6) at Ford Field, where it defeated previously unbeaten and 16th-ranked Northern Illinois in the Mid-American Conference championship game earlier this month.

The impressive victory and the program's turnaround led to Wake Forest hiring coach Dave Clawson away from the Falcons. Bowling Green picked former Eastern Illinois coach Dino Babers to replace Clawson but will be led in the bowl game by interim coach Adam Scheier.

Here are five things to watch when Pittsburgh and Bowling Green match up in the Motor City:

DOMINANT DONALD: Donald won the Lombardi, Outland, Nagurski and Bednarik awards and was the ACC defensive player of the year. The 6-foot, 285-pound defensive tackle had 10 sacks this season and led the nation with 2.2 tackles for loss per game. ''He's a disruptive force,'' Scheier said. ''We're just going to have to keep him in check.''

POTENT OFFENSE: Bowling Green averaged 35.4 points and 472.5 yards with a balanced offense. Travis Greene ran for a single-season, school-record 1,555 yards. Matt Johnson threw for 3,195 yards with 23 touchdowns and seven interceptions. Johnson outplayed Heisman Trophy finalist Jordan Lynch in the MAC title game, throwing four of his career-high five touchdown passes in the first half. He was 21 of 27 for a career-high 393 yards, connected with five teammates for scores and didn't throw an interception against a team playing for a BCS bowl bid.

CONSISTENTLY AVERAGE: The Panthers finished 6-7 in each of the last two years, capping each losing season with a lopsided defeat at the Compass Bowl. Mississippi routed Pitt 38-17 last season and SMU beat the Panthers 28-6 a year earlier. ''We want to finish strong and wanted the opportunity to play another game with this group,'' second-year Pitt coach Paul Chryst said. ''We like this group, and there's a big difference in our room between going 7-6 and 6-7.''

COACHING CHANGES: The Falcons won't have Clawson, but they will have some coaching continuity during their return to Detroit. Scheier, in his fifth season with the program, was the team's special teams coordinator and tight ends coach under Clawson. The interim coach will be assisted by offensive coordinator Warren Ruggiero and defensive coordinator Mike Elko against Pitt. ''What we do here works,'' Scheier said. ''It's a plan and foundation put in place by coach Clawson.'' Clawson and his staff helped Bowling Green become the only team to have a chance this season to increase its number of victories by three for a third straight year. The Falcons can match a school record with an 11th win. They had eight victories last year, five in 2011 and two in 2010. Babers, a former Baylor assistant, turned around Eastern Illinois during a short stay. He was 19-17 in two seasons with the Ohio Valley Conference program.

SWAN SONG: The Detroit Lions decided to get in the bowl business and will host a game next year, effectively pushing the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl out of their stadium. The bowl game has been held at Ford Field since 2002. It was previously called the Motor City Bowl and was played at the Silverdome in Pontiac, Mich.

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.
Any commercial use or distribution without the express written
consent of STATS LLC and Associated Press is strictly prohibited.

  
HEADLINES
Edwards: Freeze ousted at Ole Miss
Lawrence: 2017 MWC Preview
Edwards: Best Bet - South Carolina
Lawrence: 2017 MAC Preview
Edwards: Pac-12 Schedule Breakdown
Edwards: Big 12 Schedule Breakdown
Marshall: ACC Atlantic Preview
Marshall: ACC Coastal Preview
Edwards: SEC Schedule Breakdown
MORE HEADLINES
 
Why Buy Picks From VegasInsider.com
NCAAFB College Football Handicapper Sports Picks Records
NCAA FB College Football Expert Picks
2016 CFB SEASON PICK RECORDS
Money Leaders
Handicapper Money
Scott Rickenbach + 2051
Joe Williams + 1909
Pat Hawkins + 1752
Last Week's Leaders
Handicapper Money
Greg Smith + 400
Joe Nelson + 385
Scott Rickenbach + 380
Percentage Leaders
Handicapper Pct
Scott Pritchard 60 %
Scott Rickenbach 59 %
Kyle Hunter 57 %
Guaranteed Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 1239
Scott Rickenbach + 1082
Kyle Hunter + 1023
Over-Under Leaders
Handicapper Money
Micah Roberts + 2485
Kyle Hunter + 2166
NeiltheGreek + 2076
Member Leaders
Handicapper Money
Vince Akins + 805
Scott Rickenbach + 657
Pat Hawkins + 595
MORE PICK RECORDS
  
corner graphic
With a VI Gold Membership, you can SAVE 10% off a Live Odds subscription, SAVE 20% off Daily Pick packages, and receive access to up to 1,000 Member Plays each month!
VI Gold Membership