The sixth edition of the BBVA Compass Bowl will be played Saturday afternoon at Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, pitting the SMU Mustangs (7-5, 5-3 C-USA) against the Pittsburgh Panthers (6-6, 4-3 Big East). It will be Pittsburgh's second straight appearance in the game. The Panthers defeated Kentucky 27-10 last January behind Dion Lewis, Ray Graham and 261 total yards rushing.
This is the fourth straight year Pittsburgh has reached a bowl game, having won three straight. It is also the second straight year the Panthers will be led by an interim coach in the Compass Bowl, after the sudden departure of head coach Todd Graham. Though Wisconsin assistant Paul Chryst has been hired as a replacement, Pittsburgh defensive coordinator Keith Patterson will coach the team in the bowl game.
Pitt lost Ray Graham to a knee injury in late October, and will lean on Zach Brown and freshman Isaac Bennett to lead the ground attack, taking pressure off quarterback Tino Sunseri, who had a rather pedestrian year, completing 64 percent of his passes for 2,433 yards, 10 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.
SMU will be playing in just its third bowl game since receiving the NCAA death penalty in 1989. The Mustangs will also be without their leading rusher for the game, Zach Line, and will look to air it out behind the arm of J.J. McDermott. His primary targets will be Darius Johnson (72 receptions, 998 yards) and Cole Beasley (79, 954), both just within reach of 1,000 yard seasons.
Kickoff is scheduled for 1:00 PM ET, and the game will be aired on ESPN. Mike Gleason and John Congemi have the call, with Eamon McAananey working the sidelines.
We'll have updaters throughout the game in this StoryStream. For more on this game and all things Panthers athletics, head over to Cardiac Hill. For SMU news and notes, visit SB Nation Dallas. And for more college football news, check out SB Nation's college football news hub.