Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern prediction and Pinstripe Bowl preview. Projecting who wins between the Panthers and Wildcats at Yankee Stadium.
Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern Pinstripe Bowl Preview
When: Wednesday, Dec. 28 – 2 p.m. ET
Where: Yankee Stadium, Bronx, NY.
TV Broadcast: ESPN
Pittsburgh earned a couple of impressive victories this season, knocking off Penn State – which finished No. 5 in the final College Football Playoff rankings – and Playoff qualifier Clemson. The latter victory began a three-game winning streak for the Panthers, who have been putting plenty of points on the board lately.
Northwestern’s inconsistent offense scored at least 42 points in two of its last three games and beat Illinois in the regular-season finale to get to 6-6 and qualify for its first bowl game in three years. It was an overall down year for the Wildcats, who had higher expectations under respected coach Pat Fitzgerald.
What To Know About Pittsburgh
Coach Pat Narduzzi has some familiarity with Big Ten foes having been the defensive coordinator at Michigan State prior to taking the job with Pittsburgh. However, the defense hasn’t been the story lately for the Panthers. who have scored 175 points during their winning streak while overcoming the 117 they’ve allowed in that stretch.
Pittsburgh finished with 644 total yards in a 76-61 win over Syracuse to close the regular season, as Nathan Peterman threw four touchdown passes – he completed only nine passes – and James Connor ran for 115 yards and two scores.
What To Know About Northwestern
Fitzgerald never seems to know what he’ll get from his offense. The Wildcats scored at least 24 points six times, but they also scored 13 or fewer on four occasions. Justin Jackson’s 1,300 rushing yards were third in the Big Ten and only four behind leader Corey Clement. He also added 12 touchdowns for Northwestern, which finished 12th in the conference in yards per play.
Offense: Pittsburgh – Much more explosive and consistent than Northwestern.
Defense: Northwestern – The Wildcats have had their issues, but the Panthers finished 13th in the 14-team ACC in total defense.
Special Teams: Pittsburgh – Quadree Henderson led the ACC in average yards per punt return and brought one back for a touchdown.
Coaching: Even – Both coaches are very passionate and have similar motivational tactics. They’re also trying to be competitve in tough conferences and are holding their own.
Intangibles: Pittsburgh – More bowl experience as it prepares for its ninth straight postseason game.
Matchup To Watch
Jackson vs. Pittsburgh’s run defense
Most damage done against the Panthers comes through the air. They finished third in the ACC in rushing, and it’ll be a challenge for Jackson to get going. If he does and the Wildcats can move it a little in the passing game as well, Northwestern might be able to pull this one out.
Spread: No line as of post
Over/Under: No line as of post
Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern Prediction
Jackson and Connor are able to get their respective teams going on the ground, making for a tight game heading into the fourth quarter. But Clayton Thorson leads Northwestern down on a final drive to break the tie with a field goal.
Pittsburgh vs. Northwestern Final Score Prediction: Northwestern 38, Pittsburgh 35
Campus Insiders Staff Picks
Brian Stultz: Pitt
Jeff Bartl: Northwestern
Rich Cirminiello: Pitt
Robert Judin: Pitt
Jordan Cornette: Pitt