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Hot Read: Shorthanded Pitt Falls in Bronx

By BJ Bennett
SouthernPigskin.com
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Pittsburgh can't quite rally past Northwestern in a 31-24 loss.

1. Pittsburgh was unable to score a touchdown late in a close 31-24 Pinstriple Bowl loss to Northwestern. The Panthers were forced to finish the game without starting running back James Conner and starting quarterback Nathan Peterman due to injuries, turning to freshman signal caller Ben DiNucci. A potential game-tying completion was dislodged from Scott Orndoff's hands on Pittsburgh's second-to-last offensive drive. Down the stretch, it was the Wildcats who scored the contest's final ten points.

2. Turnovers and fourth downs hurt Pittsburgh in New York. The Panthers threw three interceptions and lost a fumble, costing their offense points and giving Northwestern extra opportunities. On fourth downs, Pittsburgh was 0-for-2, while the Wildcats were 4-for-4. Northwestern scored the game's go-ahead touchdown with a 21-yard scoring pass on a 4th-and-1, the second 4th down conversion against the Panthers on that deciding drive.  

3. As of right now, Pittsburgh defensive lineman Ejuan Price leads the nation in tackles for loss. He entered Wednesday with 21 such stops, adding two more tackles for loss, including a sack, versus Northwestern. Price now has 23 tackles for loss on the year, moving him into first place in college football in that category.  

4. The Panthers obviously struggled to stop running back Justin Jackson for the Wildcats. He rushed 32 times for 224 yards and three touchdowns, earning Pinstripe Bowl MVP honors.

5. Though the season ended on a disappointing note, there were some tremendous moments for Pittsburgh this season. From James Conner's remarkable comeback to the wins over Clemson and Penn State, the Panthers accomplished some great things this fall.

BJ Bennett - B.J. Bennett is SouthernPigskin.com's founder and publisher. He is the co-host of "Three & Out" with Kevin Thomas and Ben Troupe on the "Southern Pigskin Radio Network". Email: bj@espncoastal.com / Twitter: @BJBennettSports