Fourth quarter collapse costs Pitt Armed Forces Bowl

By Chris Puzia / Sports Editor

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A late collapse lost Pitt the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

Pitt, which led Houston 31-6 in the fourth quarter, surrendered two onside kicks and 29 fourth-quarter points to the Cougars in the loss.

The Panthers (6-7, 4-4 ACC) seemed in control of the game, as touchdown runs from running backs James Conner and Isaac Bennett in the second quarter gave Pitt a 17-6 halftime lead. Pitt did not trail in the game until there were 59 seconds remaining, when Deontay Greenberry caught a 25-yard touchdown pass.

Instead of kicking the extra point to tie the game, however, the Cougars (8-5, 5-3 AAC) elected to attempt a two-point conversion.

Quarterback Greg Ward Jr. rolled to his right and found Greenberry again to put Houston on top. Pitt made it to midfield in its comeback attempt, but could not advance any further and turned the ball over on downs to end the game.

The 25-point deficit that Houston erased is the largest fourth-quarter comeback in bowl history.

Conner finished with 21 carries for 90 yards and two touchdowns, and wide receiver Tyler Boyd finished with nine carries for 112 yards. Conner finished with 26 touchdowns on the season after the two on Friday.

Joe Rudolph served as interim head coach for the game, as former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi took over as Pitt’s head coach.

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