The soon to be former Big East Pittsburgh Panthers lost to the soon to be Big East SMU Mustangs 28-6 at the 2012 BBVA Compass Bowl on Jan. 7 at Legion Field. The win was the 100th of June Jones' collegiate career (100-69 at Hawaii and SMU).
The teams traded punts to start the game. SMU then burned the Pitt coverage with a 50-yard bomb touchdown pass to Darius Johnson from J.J. McDermott. The Panthers responded with a punt. SMU used a sustained drive of 54 yards and 8 plays to take a 14-0 lead. A Tino Sunseri lost fumble (his fifth of the season) on the next drive set the Mustangs up at the Pitt 27. SMU scored a touchdown four plays later to finish off a 21-0 first quarter.
Pitt drove down to the SMU 15 at the beginning of the second quarter but had to settle for a field goal. The Panthers did the only scoring of the quarter. They blew two other opportunities by throwing a red zone interception and missing on a field goal to close the half.
Pitt went three and out to start the second half. SMU had a 10-play, 73-yard drive after the punt to put the game out of reach with their fourth touchdown on Rishad Wimbley's second short touchdown run. Pitt drove into the redzone again but stalled when Sunseri took a sack which killed the drive. The Panthers settled for the field goal to make the score 28-6.
I was wrong about Pitt in my preview. The Panthers didn't play as well as they could and got burned. They came out uninspired and couldn't recover after a 21-0 first quarter from SMU. Pitt was also on the wrong end of two special teams calls, once on an inadvertent whistle after they recovered the ball on a kickoff fumble after their first field goal. The second call was a false start on a fake punt in the beginning of the third quarter.
There were no fireworks in the fourth quarter. SMU was threatening to put another touchdown on the board before a McDermott lost a fumble in the redzone. Pitt was unable to do anything with the only SMU turnover they forced during the game.
J.J. McDermott threw for 240 yards and had two total touchdowns (1 rushing, 1 passing) for SMU. Sunseri was sacked seven more times in the game. He also threw for 190 yards and an interception and lost a fumble which set up a touchdown. Neither team ran the ball well, but SMU was able to get three short-yardage touchdown runs.
For more coverage of the Big East's bowl season, check out our Bowl games section.