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Utah State, Pitt win bowl games

Posted: December 26, 2013 10:51 p.m.
Updated: December 26, 2013 10:51 p.m.

Utah State receiver Shaan Johnson beats Northern Illinois defenders on Thursday in San Diego.

 

SAN DIEGO (AP) — Utah State allowed two 100-yard rushers all season long.

Jordan Lynch, the all-purpose Heisman Trophy finalist from Northern Illinois, failed to make it into that exclusive club.

The Aggies' swarming defense made Lynch look average during a 21-14 victory over No. 24 Northern Illinois in the Poinsettia Bowl on Thursday night.

Safety Brian Suite intercepted a pass and recovered a fumble by Lynch, who was bottled up for only 39 yards rushing. That kept him from becoming the first major college player to rush for 2,000 yards and pass for 2,000 yards in the same season.

Utah State stymied a Huskies offense that had averaged nearly 42 points a game.

"The only thing we do every week is not stop the run game, but eliminate the run game," USU coach Matt Wells said. "But obviously he is a big part of the run game, so we were able to eliminate him, make him one-dimensional and then we were able to actually find a way to run the football, which makes them one-dimensional, and the ballgame is ours."

Joey DeMartino, who went to high school and junior college in San Diego, carried 23 times for 143 yards and a touchdown for Utah State (9-5). He was the offensive MVP.

"The feeling's unreal," DeMartino said. "I couldn't ask for a better senior game to go out on and to be in front of my hometown, my family, my friends and everyone who supported me out here."

Little Caesars Pizza Bowl
Pittsburgh 30, Bowling Green 27

DETROIT (AP) — The way James Conner and Tyler Boyd played in their first postseason game, it's no wonder Pittsburgh coach Paul Chryst is excited about next season.

With a pair of freshmen leading the way — and breaking some long-standing school records in the process — the Panthers edged Bowling Green 30-27 on Thursday night in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl. Conner rushed for 229 yards. Boyd caught eight passes for 173 yards and also scored on a punt return.

"We obviously have some great young talent and that's why we are so confident about the future of this program," Chryst said. "We think we're in great shape going forward."

Conner broke a Pittsburgh bowl record for yards rushing held by Tony Dorsett, and Chris Blewitt kicked a tiebreaking field goal with 1:17 remaining.

Conner even played a handful of snaps on the defensive line. Boyd gave Pitt (7-6) a boost with his versatility as well.

One star the Panthers will have to replace is Aaron Donald, their All-American on the defensive line. Donald, a senior, helped thwart any last-ditch comeback with a sack deep in Bowling Green territory in the final minute.

"They were without question the most physical team we faced all season," said Adam Scheier, Bowling Green's interim coach. "The offensive line was tough, the running back was obviously a bear to tackle and the whole defensive line was disruptive. We knew we had to keep Donald and their other guys out of our backfield, but we couldn't do it."


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