SMU 28 – Pittsburgh 6
Pitt’s offense without former head coach Todd Graham remained in low gear Saturday afternoon.
SMU put up three first-quarter touchdowns, including scoring runs and passes by J.J. McDermott, to beat Pittsburgh 28-6 Saturday in the BBVA Compass Bowl.
The game was over quickly as Pitt finished 6-7 on the season.
“I’m really proud of the defense,” SMU head coach June Jones said. “Really the defense has been that way all year. They’ve been the reason we’ve won eight games. We haven’t been as sharp on offense as we’ve been in years past.”
Rishaad Wimbley ran for two scores for SMU (8-5), which tied a school record by playing in its third straight bowl under Jones. Before Jones’ arrival in in 2008, SMU had played in the postseason since beating Notre Dame in the 1984 Aloha Bowl.
McDermott completed 16 of 26 passes for 239 yards and a touchdown, to Darius Johnson early in the first.
Pittsburgh (6-7) was held without a first down and fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter. Kevin Harper kicked field goals of 32 and 34 yards.
The Panthers were coached by defensive coordinator Keith Patterson, who took over after Todd Graham left to coach at Arizona State. It was Patterson last game before he starts his new job as the defensive coordinator at Arkansas State.
“The one thing I kept challenging everybody on the team to do is to finish,” Patterson said, adding there were many distractions for players and coaches. “But I felt really good about the effort that they gave,” he said. “They represented as well as they possibly could.”
Pittsburgh’s newly hired coach, former Wisconsin offensive coordinator Paul Chryst, flew into Birmingham on Saturday and watched the game from the press box level.
Chryst visited with Pitt alumni and fans before the game. He said he wanted to maintain a respectful distance from the team until the game ended, signaling the start of his era.
“This is the culmination of their season,” Chryst said. “This wasn’t me.”
QB Tino Sunseri was 19 of 28 passing for 183 yards with an interception. Attendance was 29,726.
Credit: Brian Kelly and Associated Press