Pitt Fails To Exploit A Second Chance

By Alan Robinson
Associated Press
Sunday, August 31, 2008

PITTSBURGH, Aug. 30 -- A whistle sounded prematurely, stripping Bowling Green of a possible game-winning touchdown and giving a second chance to Pittsburgh, a top 25 team that probably didn't deserve such a break.

So Bowling Green went out and forced yet another mistake that ensured Pitt of a loss the Panthers never seemed to believe might happen until the game was over.

Tyler Sheehan ran 11 yards for a touchdown on a quarterback draw early in the fourth quarter, two plays after Pittsburgh's fourth turnover, and Bowling Green rallied for a 27-17 upset of the No. 25 Panthers on Saturday.

The Falcons (1-0), scoring 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.

"Unless you study the game, you don't understand the implications of a win like that," Falcons Coach Gregg Brandon said. "We're not supposed to beat these people."

Falcons linebacker John Haneline and several teammates read earlier in the week that no MAC team had won at Pitt.

"Everybody just said, 'Why not us now, why wait?' " Haneline said.

Why not, indeed.

Anthony Turner scored on an eight-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 minutes 53 seconds left in the third quarter.

With Pitt rushing for only 46 yards in the final three quarters after outgaining the Falcons 137-6 in the first quarter, Kenny Lewis caused Cedric McGee's 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 and Bowling Green was forced to punt. But on Pitt's next possession, cornerback Antonio Smith caused Bill Stull's fumble that Angelo Magnone returned six yards to the Pitt 11. Sheehan (24 of 40, 163 yards) scored two plays later.

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