2011 BBVA Compass Bowl, Pittsburgh Vs. Kentucky: Panthers Top Wildcats, 27-10

The 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl kicks off at noon EST on Saturday, January 8. The game will be televised on ESPN.

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Pittsburgh 27, Kentucky 10, Final Score: Panthers Stifle UK Offense To Win BBVA Compass Bowl

On Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, Pittsburgh ended a 7-5 season with a decisive 27-10 win over Kentucky. By winning the BBVA Compass Bowl, the Panthers now have their second consecutive bowl win.

Offensively, Pitt did not out-gain Kentucky by a large margin -- they managed 358 offensive yards to the Wildcats' 315 -- but the Panthers manufactured good field position by making big defensive plays, and made the most of their good fortune. Quarterback Tino Sunseri rebounded from some early shakiness to throw a touchdown pass, and the running game, headlined by Dion Lewis' 105 rushing yards and Ray Graham's 90, dominated Kentucky's defensive line.

Kentucky quarterback Morgan Newton provided a solid performance down center, throwing for 211 yards. However, the Wildcats suffered from an inability to deliver in must-convert situations, as they were 1-for-4 in fourth-down conversion attempts.

Stay tuned to this StoryStream for updates. And for more on these teams, check out our Kentucky blog, A Sea Of Blue, and our Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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2011 BBVA Compass Bowl, Pittsburgh Vs. Kentucky: Panthers In Driver's Seat Entering Fourth, 20-10

In the third quarter of the BBVA Compass Bowl on Saturday afternoon, Pittsburgh managed to hold the 10-point lead it held at halftime. A touchdown from quarterback Tino Sunseri has the Panthers on top entering the fourth, 20-10.

Sunseri tossed the first passing touchdown of the game from either team with a strike to Brock DeCicco. In the first half, Sunseri had trotted into the end zone for Pitt's other touchdown.

Kentucky, for its part, managed to finally find its way into the end zone. The drive was powered by an 18-yard rush-reverse by Randall Cobb. Kentucky's offense has at last woken up, as the running game has produced 100 yards, and quarterback Morgan Newton has thrown for 124 yards.

Early in the fourth quarter, Pitt has the ball and the lead.

Stay tuned to this StoryStream for updates. And for more on these teams, check out our Kentucky blog, A Sea Of Blue, and our Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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2011 BBVA Compass Bowl, Pittsburgh Vs. Kentucky: After Pushing And Shoving, Panthers Lead At Half, 13-3

It's halftime at the BBVA Compass Bowl in Birmingham. After some big plays, and some pushing and shoving, Pittsburgh leads Kentucky, 13-3.

In the second quarter, Pitt had possession, and the offensive lined was called for a false start. Several seconds after the play was whistled dead, however, Panthers quarterback Tito Sunseri received a very late hit and was knocked to the ground. This image, which shows most players standing flat-footed, helps to illustrate how late this hit was:

Sunserilatehit_medium

Luckily, Sunseri was not hurt, but his offensive line responded with some pushing and shoving. The fighting didn't escalate to the level that would have required ejections, and after penalties offset, play resumed.

As for the football itself: Pittsburgh's offense was spearheaded by its running game in the second half, with running back Dion Lewis rushing  for 66 yards and Sunseri scrambling for 25 more. The offense was greatly benefited by a special teams play, when Kentucky punter Ryan Tydlacka's punt was blocked. Pitt capitalized on the great field position with a touchdown.

The lone Kentucky score was put on the board by kicker Craig McIntosh, who put a 50-yard field goal through the uprights. The Wildcats have managed a couple of big plays on the ground, but they've only converted two of six third-down conversions.

Kentucky is set to receive the ball to open the second half.

Stay tuned to this StoryStream for updates. And for more on these teams, check out our Kentucky blog, A Sea Of Blue, and our Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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2011 BBVA Compass Bowl, Pitt Vs. Kentucky: Wildcats Finally Get On Board With 50-Yard Field Goal

On Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, the first quarter of the BBVA Compass Bowl has seen two teams that have had trouble holding onto the ball. Kentucky kicker Craig McIntosh finally put some points on the scoreboard with an impressive 50-yard field goal, and the Wildcats lead Pittsburgh, 3-0.

When McIntosh booted the ball through the uprights, it looked as though the ball cleared the uprights by several yards. It was his second 50-yarder of the season.

Both teams have been plagued by turnovers so far. Pitt quarterback Tito Sunseri threw an early interception, but the Panthers managed to force a fumble to re-take possession. Kentucky very nearly forced a fumble of its own, but officials reversed the call after video review.

The Compass Bowl is now entering the second quarter. Kentucky has possession.

Stay tuned to this StoryStream for updates. And for more on these teams, check out our Kentucky blog, A Sea Of Blue, and our Pitt blog, Cardiac Hill.

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2011 BBVA Compass Bowl, Pitt Vs. Kentucky Odds: Panthers Favored Amid Coaching Turmoil

The 2010 college football postseason is hitting the home stretch as it heads to Alabama for the BBVA Compass Bowl. The Pitt Panthers and Kentucky Wildcats hit the field on Saturday, Jan. 8 and we've got all your odds and predictions needs covered.

The line: Pitt by 3.5-4 points. The line opened favoring Pitt by two, but has moved a couple points more in the Panthers favor.

Notable Pitt units: The Pitt defense is giving up 19.8 points per game, ranked 20th in the nation. On offense, the Pitt rushing game is marginally better than its passing game, with the Panthers running for 157.8 yards per game, good for 54th in the nation.

Notable Kentucky units: In the regular season, it was the passing game. The Wildcats threw for 274.2 yards per game, ranked No. 22 in the nation. That all changes in the BBVA Compass Bowl with quarterback Mike Hartline suspended for the game. The offense, producing 33 points per game (ranked 25th) is likely to see a change without Hartline at the helm, relying more on Randall Cobb, the Wildcats all-everything athlete.

The pick: Even with Pitt's coaching situation in flux and all the distractions the Panthers have had leading up to the bowl, we'll go with Pitt here. Without Hartline, Kentucky takes a huge hit on offense, making one think the Wildcats will struggle to put up points. Pitt for the win and to cover.

The 2011 BBVA Compass kicks off at noon EST. The game will be televised on ESPN. Browse our 2010 college football postseason schedule for a complete list of bowls.

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2011 BBVA Compass Bowl Game: Time, Location, History And More

To help prime you for the home stretch of bowl games, we've compiled this handy list of fun factoids concerning the 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl.

Proper name: The BBVA Compass Bowl, formerly the PapaJohns.com Bowl. Less pizza, more BBVA Compass, whatever that is.

Setting: Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, home of the UAB Blazers

Traditional conference pairing: Big East versus SEC

2010 matchup: The Pittsburgh Panthers (7-5) and the Kentucky Wildcats (6-6)

Announcers: Mike Gleason, John Congemi have the call while Cara Capuano roams the sidelines. Gonna be honest, I have no idea who these people are. ESPN must be sending the U-team to the Compass Bowl.

Weather: It'll be sunny and cold in Birmingham, with a high of 44 and a low of 25. Sunday has a chance of snow in the forecast, which would've been fun for a bowl game.

Neatest fact: I had no idea what a BBVA Compass was. I though compass, like the math instrument. Boy was I wrong. Holly Anderson broke it down here, shedding light on the confusing issue. In short, it's a bank and a crappy name for a bowl.

Closest finish: This game is relatively young, so our sample size is small here. In 2008, Rutgers beat NC State by six, 29-23, for the closest finish in the history of the bowl game.

Most lopsided finish: The first game, in 2006, was also the most lopsided, with South Florida easily dropping East Carolina, 24-7. Told you there wasn't much of a sample to work with.

Tidbits of interest: Pitt fired ... err head coach Dave Wannstedt retired following the regular season. In his place, Mike Haywood was hired, until he wasn't. Haywood was arrested for domestic violence shortly after he was hired and promptly fired by Pitt. Back to square-one for the Panthers. It's the first appearance in the BBVA Compass Bowl for both Pitt and Kentucky. The Big East has never lost a BBVA/PapaJohns Bowl, going 4-0. Conference USA is 0-2, the SEC is 0-1 and the ACC is 0-1.

The 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl kicks off at noon EST, Saturday, January 7. The game will be televised on FOX. For more bowl scores and highlights, browse our 2010 college football postseason schedule.

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2011 NFL Draft Prospects: Jonathan Baldwin On Display At BBVA Compass Bowl

2011 NFL Draft prospects are few and far between in the BBVA Compass Bowl. That doesn't mean they're completely absent, though, as Pittsburgh brings a likely first round draft pick to Birmingham. Wide receiver Jonathan Baldwin, currently listed as the No. 20 prospect in Mocking the Draft's top-200, is the headliner on Saturday and a player to keep an eye on. In SB Nation's first 2011 NFL Mock Draft, Baldwin is projected to be the 22nd pick in the draft, heading to the Kansas City Chiefs.

Here are a few of the other prospects playing in the BBVA Compass Bowl.

Jabaal Sheard, Pitt DE: The 6-foot-4, 260 pound defensive end is listed as the 119th best prospect in the 2011 draft. Sheard finished the regular season with 52 tackles and nine sacks for the Panthers. He also recovered a fumble and totaled 14.5 tackles for a loss.

Randall Cobb, Kentucky WR/ATH: Cobb did it all for the Wildcats in 2010, rushing for 401 yards and five touchdowns while catching 79 passes for 955 yards and seven touchdowns. Cobb also returned punts, taking one back for a touchdown, and threw passing, completing five, three of which went for a touchdown. Cobb is ranked as the No. 67 overall player by Mocking the Draft.

Catch these prospects and more in the 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl at noon EST on Saturday, January 8. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Stay tuned to this StoryStream right up through game time, as we review key unit matchups, odds, bowl history and more, and connect with Wildcats and Panthers fans at SB Nation's A Sea Of Blue and Cardiac Hill. For a complete list of bowl games scores, and highlights, browse our 2010-2011 college football postseason schedule.

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2011 BBVA Compass Bowl, Pitt Vs. Kentucky: Disappointing Seasons Come To A Close

Missed opportunities, disappointment and seasons that should've been better are all words thrown around when poking through the SB Nation blogs for Kentucky and Pitt. The Panthers finished the season barely above .500, at 7-5, then had about the worst month a team could have to start the offseason. Their longtime coach -- Dave Wannstedt -- is gone, their new hire -- Mike Haywood -- was arrested then fired and the Panthers are back to the beginning of their coaching search.

Meanwhile the Kentucky Wildcats saw multiple opportunities go to waste as its porous defense hemorrhaged points throughout the season. In other words, the BBVA Compass Bowl should be fun.  

Over at SB Nation's A Sea of Blue, Kentucky fans think the head coaching situation at Pitt will come into play in the BBVA Compass Bowl. With all the turmoil, and no real head coach, that could be the X factor.

The X-factor is the head coaching situation for the Panthers. The team is certainly demoralized by the turmoil currently surrounding the program, and Pitt's excellent recruiting class is now in serious jeopardy due to the coaching chaos. If the Panthers carry all this baggage with them onto Legion Field on Saturday, they could be in for a long afternoon.

On the other side of the ball, Pitt fans are, understandably, distracted ahead of their bowl game. SB Nation's Cardiac Hill sums it all up nicely.

Look, there's a lot of reasons not to watch this game and interest is at an all-time low. And the fact is that it probably does matter a bit more to Kentucky. The Wildcats are trying to build a program. Pitt is rebuilding. They may have been hoping for a bit more than this bowl, but they didn't have realistic BCS bowl aspirations like Pitt did. The Lexington Herald-Leader couldn't even identify a good Pitt win this year.

They do, however, go on to list the reasons to watch, mostly involving sentimental players or the last chance to see this team hit the field. It's been a tough time over there.

The 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl kicks off at noon EST on Saturday, January 8. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Stay tuned to this StoryStream right up through game time, as we review key unit matchups, odds, bowl history and more, and connect with Wildcats and Panthers fans at SB Nation's A Sea Of Blue and Cardiac Hill. For a complete list of bowl games scores, and highlights, browse our 2010-2011 college football postseason schedule.

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2011 BBVA Compass Bowl, Pitt Vs. Kentucky: Unserious Football For Unserious Times

Welcome, gentle viewers, to the inaugural BBVA Compass Bowl, the postseason football contest formerly known as the PapaJohns.com Bowl. (Its station in life does not appear to have improved appreciably.) The erstwhile Birmingham Bowl bills itself thusly: "Southern Hospitality. Serious football."

We have no doubt they mean this with all earnestness. We have eaten some fine barbecue in Birmingham, so we can attest to the hospitality portion, and attending a game at Legion Field does add a delectable edge of danger to the proceedings, but if the organizers of this shindig wanted serious football, they maybe should've picked teams that didn't go 2-6 in the SEC and suffer two losses (one real and one transitive) to 7-6 Notre Dame.

To the combatants! The 6-6 Kentucky Wildcats, operating under first-year head coach and longtime coordinator Joker Phillips, failed to capitalize on a hilariously weak year for the ever-stalwart SEC East. Though they edged eventual division champs South Carolina by a field goal in mid-October, their only other conference win was the traditional spanking of Vanderbilt, the only team to finish below them in the final standings.

The 7-5 Pitt Panthers took a more circumspect path to lowest-tier bowl relegation, losing a high-profile overtime road game to Utah on the opening day of the 2010 season. From there, they fell prey to then-No. 19 Miami, Notre Dame, eventual conference winners UConn, and West Virginia, leaving the unpalatable choices of Syracuse, Rutgers, Louisville, South Florida, or Cincinnati for a "signature win." They'll also be playing without the services of recently-ousted head coach Dave Wannstedt, so have fun with the "YOUR COACH DOESN'T EVEN LOVE YOU I BET YOU'RE ADOPTED" jokes on the sidelines, 'Cats.

The 2011 BBVA Compass Bowl kicks off at noon EST on Saturday, January 8. The game will be televised on ESPN.

Stay tuned to this StoryStream right up through game time, as we review key unit matchups, odds, bowl history and more, and connect with Wildcats and Panthers fans at SB Nation's A Sea Of Blue and Cardiac Hill. For a complete list of bowl games scores, and highlights, browse our 2010-2011 college football postseason schedule.

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