Pitt Panthers Vs. Houston Cougars GameDay, TV/Radio, And Preview


While the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl in Fort Worth, Texas today represents the conclusion of the 2014 college football season for the University of Pittsburgh Panthers and the University Of Houston Cougars, it also ushers in the call for change at both programs.

The Blue and Gold (6-6, 4-4 ACC) come into the contest with their offensive coordinator, Joe Rudolph at the helm as former head coach Paul Chryst chose to return home after three seasons to coach at Wisconsin. The Panthers hired Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi on Christmas Eve to be their new coach, but he can not take over till after the bowl game.

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Pitt enters the matchup coming off a road victory over the Miami Hurricanes 35-23 back on Saturday, Nov. 29. It is the seventh consecutive bowl appearance for the Panthers.

On the other side of the field, the Cougars (7-5, 5-3 AAC) have defensive coordinator David Gibbs serving in the interim role as Houston discharged their former head coach Tony Levine in early December. They have hired Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman to be their next coach after today’s contest.

Houston’s last game was on Saturday, Dec. 6 and it was a 38-31 loss on the road to the University of Cincinnati Bearcats. It is their fourth time to appear in the Armed Forces Bowl.

When: Friday, Jan. 2

Kickoff: Noon, ET

Site: Amon G. Carter Stadium on the campus of Texas Christian University In Fort Worth

Playing Surface: Natural Grass

Series Began: 1996

Series Overall: Tied 1-1

At Pittsburgh: Houston leads 1-0

At Houston: Pitt leads 1-0

Neutral Sites: N/A

Last Meeting At Pitt: Sept. 14, 1996 (UH won 42-35 in OT)

Last Meeting At Houston: Sept. 13, 1997 (Pitt won 35-24)

Television: ESPN

Announcers: Tom Hart and Matt Stinchcomb with Heather Mitts reporting from the sidelines.

National Radio Coverage: Armed Forces Radio Network

Announcers: Brian Estridge and John Denton with Landry Durdine reporting from the sidelines.

Pitt Radio Coverage: 93.7 FM – The Fan and the Pitt IMG Sports Network

Announcers: Bill Hillgrove and Pat Bostick with Larry Richert reporting from the sidelines

Sirius XM Satellite Radio: XM Channel 91

Internet Audio – Panthers All-Access: www.PittsburghPanthers.com via CSLive

Odds: Pitt -4 According to Bovada Online Sportsbook with the Over/Under at 54.

Weather Channel Online Forecast: Cloudy today with a high of 39 and a 35/40 percent chance of rain during the game.

Pitt’s sophomore running back James Conner rushed for 1,675 yards in 2014. The 6-foot-2, 250-pound Erie native set both Panthers and Atlantic Coast Conference records this season with 24 rushing touchdowns. The nation’s fifth leading rusher was named the ACC Player of the Year.

The Blue and Gold offense is also led by sophomore first-team All-ACC wide receiver Tyler Boyd. The 6-foot-2, 190-pound Clairton, Penna. native was second in the conference and 14th nationally with 1,149 receiving yards this season.

A victory today would give the Panthers a 7-6 record and a winning season for the second consecutive year. It would also mean that Pitt closed out 2014 with a three-game winning streak, something they have not accomplished since 2001 when they closed with six straight victories.

The Cougars offense is led by sophomore quarterback Greg Ward Jr., who took over in the final seven games when fellow sophomore John O’Korn could not get the job done. The 5-foot-11, 178 pound signal caller had nine touchdowns and 1,736 passing yards. He also contributed 481 yards rushing and six scores.

Junior running back Kenneth Farrow led the ground attack with 934 yards on 164 carries and 12 touchdowns while junior wide receiver Deontay Greenberry was the leading receiver with 68 receptions for 756 yards and four touchdowns.

Houston’s defense will pose a challenge as they allowed just 19.5 points per game to rank 11th in the nation, and they have forced 30 tunrovers this season, the fifth most in the country.

My Prediction: Pitt Panthers 27 and Houston Cougars 21 – I think if Conner can get on a roll, it will allow sophomore quarterback Chad Voytik to be able to find Boyd in the end zone and bring home a victory.

Next: Pitt Football Ends Season With Historic Debacle In Armed Forces Bowl Against Houston