PITTSBURGH (AP) – If this was Steve Addazio’s last stand at Boston College, he went out with a bang.
AJ Dillon ran for 178 yards and a touchdown, Aaron Boumerhi booted four field goals and the Atlantic Coast Conference’s worst defense forced four turnovers as the Eagles beat sloppy Pittsburgh 26-19 on Saturday to become bowl eligible and perhaps give their embattled coach a lifeline.
Boston College (6-6, 4-4 ACC) reached bowl eligibility for the sixth time in seven seasons under Addazio by beating the Panthers in Pittsburgh for the first time in 21 years. Dillon’s ever-churning legs played a major role as the Eagles rolled up 264 yards on the ground against a team that entered ranked sixth in the country in run defense, allowing just 92.6 yards per game.
Dillon surpassed that total on his own, including a 61-yard dash to the end zone in the third quarter that put Boston College ahead to stay shortly after Pitt went in front on a 39-yard sprint by Vincent Davis. Dennis Grosel passed for 123 yards and a touchdown and added 51 yards rushing for the Eagles.
Kenny Pickett threw for 323 yards for the Panthers (7-5, 4-4) but Pitt drives regularly bogged down in Boston College territory. A week after getting shut out on the road at Virginia Tech, the Panthers managed just a single touchdown against a team that ranked next to last in the ACC in points allowed and last in yards allowed.
Alex Kessman hit four field goals for Pitt, including a 43-yard field goal with 5:26 to go that pulled the Panthers within a touchdown. Pitt never got the ball back. Boston College chugged 40 yards on 11 plays – all runs – to drain the clock.
Boston College: Addazio improved to 44-44 with the Eagles but his status going forward is uncertain.
Pitt: Given a chance to reach the eight-win plateau for the first time since 2016, the Panthers sputtered. The offense having trouble punching it in was hardly surprising. The Panthers averaged just 20.2 points on the season, 13th in the 14-team ACC. But the way the defense couldn’t get stops even though it knew what was coming was a stunner.
Boston College: Opens the 2020 season at home on Sept. 5 against Holy Cross.
Pitt: Heading to a bowl game for the 11th time in 12 seasons, though the last two losses sent the Panthers dropping precipitously down the pecking order in the ACC.
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