James Conner rushed for 229 yards - breaking a Pittsburgh bowl record held by Tony Dorsett - and Chris Blewitt kicked a tie-breaking field goal with 1 minute, 17 seconds remaining, lifting the Panthers to a 30-27 win over Bowling Green on Thursday night in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field, Detroit.
The 6-foot-2 Conner rushed for 165 yards in the second half, helping Pitt overcome the loss of quarterback Tom Savage, who didn't play after halftime because of a rib injury.
Conner also played a handful of snaps on the defensive line, and fellow freshman Tyler Boyd gave Pitt (7-6) a boost with eight catches for 173 yards. Boyd also scored on a punt return in the first half.
Bowling Green (10-4) tied it at 17 when BooBoo Gates took the second-half kickoff 94 yards for a touchdown.
Dorsett rushed for 202 yards in Pitt's win over Georgia in the Sugar Bowl on Jan. 1, 1977.
The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl faces an uncertain future now that the Detroit Lions have decided to get in the bowl business and will host a game next season.