Teams & Conferences

2016 Pinstripe Bowl, Northwestern vs. Pitt Prediction, Game Preview, History, Scores

New Era Pinstripe Bowl Prediction, Pitt vs. Northwestern Game Preview, History, Scores


Three reasons why you should watch the New Era Pinstripe Bowl between Pitt (8-4) vs. Northwestern (6-6), why each team might win, honest thoughts, line and prediction.


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Date: Wednesday, December 28th
Game Time: 2:00 pm
Venue: Yankee Stadium, New York, NY
Network: ESPN

Contact/Follow @PeteFiutak

Scroll down for the video preview and bowl history

The Bowl Matchup Ranking Of Awesomeness (1 best-40 worst): 19 out of 40

Three Reasons Why You Should Watch The New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Pitt’s an interesting answer to a trivia question. Which team in college football has wins over two Power Five conference champions? Pitt beat Penn State early in the year, and handed Clemson its only loss on the season. With a high-powered offense, the Panthers have put up points and yards in chunks with one of the most fun attacks in college football. The defense? It’s been very, very suspect against good passing teams, meaning …

Pitt games are fun, Fun, FUN! With time to prepare, watch out for the Northwestern offense to kick it in with a big day from the passing attack. Clayton Thorson showed at times throughout the year that he can put up big numbers in chunks, and now he’ll get to have his fun bombing away.

The Pinstripe Bowl has been terrific lately. The game is only six years old, but three of the bowls were decided by three points or fewer with the last two coming in overtime. On the big New York City/Yankee Stadium stage, the teams always bring the A game.

Here’s Why Northwestern Will Win The New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Pitt really, really can’t stop anyone’s passing attack. The Panthers leave their corners on an island, and they force the defensive backs to win battles on too many deep plays. That’s fine at times, but the ACC passing games picked Pitt apart to death. The Panther D allowed over 300 yards seven times, over 400 yards three times, and over 500 yards twice, while only coming up with eight picks on the season – three against Clemson.

Get ready to enjoy Austin Carr. The senior has flown under the national radar, but now he’s about to showcase what he can do. With 84 catches for close to 1,200 yards and 12 scores, and with six 100-yard games, he’s a big play target who can take over games at times. Thorson should hit 300 yards, and Carr will get to 100 yards without a problem.

Northwestern doesn’t screw up. Third in the nation in penalties and 19th in turnover margin, the Wildcats don’t shoot themselves in the foot and don’t make a whole slew of mistakes. Northwestern has been good in both areas under Pat Fitzgerald, and Pitt doesn’t make a ton of errors, either, but the Wildcats should win the turnover battle – they might have to.

Here’s Why Pitt Will Win The New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Yeah, Northwestern will throw, but Nathan Peterman will have fun, too. The Panthers usually have to throw to keep up, but over the last few games, Peterman and the passing game have been more explosive and more efficient. Peterman completed just 20-of-36 passes against Duke and Syracuse, but he cranked up 488 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging well over 13 yards per throw. Northwestern’s secondary is okay, but it’ll give up over 300 yards if the run defense isn’t getting hammered by …

James Conner. It’s his last game as a Panther – choosing to leave early for the NFL after this – and he’s ready. Getting past his battle with cancer, he got stronger and stronger as the year went on, finishing with 1,060 yards and 16 scores, and ripping through the ACC with four 100-yard games in the last five. He’s got power, home run hitting ability, and the potential to be even more of a workhorse. He’ll be one of the stars of the show, at least on the offensive side, while on the other side …

The defensive front should fly behind the line. Ejuan Price has been one of the nation’s top pass rushers, coming up with 12 sacks and 21 tackles for loss for a Panther pass rush that brings the heat from all sides. The Northwestern pass protection has been spotty all year – allowing 35 sacks – while the Panthers have given up nine.

You’ve Read This Far, So You Get Three Honest Thoughts On The New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Northwestern, it’s time to prove you can win a bowl game. Okay, so the Wildcats beat Mississippi State in the 2012 Gator Bowl, but that was just the second bowl win all-time in the first since the 1948 Rose, going 1-10 since then. And last year, Northwestern got its doors blown off by a far more explosive Tennessee team that turned the Outback into one of the ugliest games of the bowl season.

Get ready for Justin Jackson. James Conner might be the front-and-center storyline – and rightly so – but it’s possible Jackson has the stronger performance. He finished up his 1,300-yard, 12-touchdown season with 173 yards and three touchdowns against Illinois, and now he’ll be rested. The only bright spot against Tennessee in last season’s bowl blasting, it’s possible he’ll take over the game this year.

Northwestern might be bad at bowls, but … Pitt could really use a bowl win, too. The epic collapse to Houston in the Armed Forces Bowl two seasons ago and the blowout loss to Navy last year made it four losses in the last five. Even the win came against Bowling Green from the MAC, and it was a close call. It’s been a good 8-4 season, but the perception takes a hit if it’s yet another Panther bowl clunker.

Super. So Who’s Going To Win The New Era Pinstripe Bowl?

Northwestern’s offense – more specifically, Pitt’s defense – should keep this interesting. If you’re looking for a fun and crazy offensive shootout, you’re about to get one.

The Panthers will have their moments with the offensive balance proving to be the difference as the game goes on. Northwestern will keep firing and it’ll keep putting up yards in chunks, but Pitt will do it a bit better.

When they absolutely have to, the Panthers will grind out the drive needed to slow things down just enough to take back control, and then, for one of the few times all year, their defense will come up with a key stop.

Final Score

Pitt 37, Northwestern 31

Line

Pitt -5, o/u: 66

ATS Confidence: 4
5: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score in your favorite bar
0: Your New Year’s Eve chances to score after covering a College Football Playoff semifinal

Must See Rating: 3.5
5: New Year’s Eve: Defected In The House, Ministry of Sound, London
0: New Year’s Eve Live with Anderson Cooper and Special Co-Host Kathy Griffin

Get Tickets For The New Era Pinstripe Bowl

Pinstripe Bowl History, Results

Dec. 26, 2015 Duke 44 Indiana 41 (OT)
Dec. 27, 2014 Penn State 31 Boston College 30 (OT)
Dec. 28, 2013 Notre Dame 29 Rutgers 16
Dec. 29, 2012 Syracuse 38 West Virginia 14
Dec. 30, 2011 Rutgers 27 Iowa State 13
Dec. 30, 2010 Syracuse 36 Kansas State 34