So this is how my recap initially looked:
Yeah, about that. The first three quarters were all Pitt, and you can catch the recaps of the first three quarters here. But let's focus on the finish that was so wild that it was only rivaled by Western Kentucky and Central Michigan in the Bahamas Bowl.
The Houston Cougars were at one point down 31-6 in the 4th quarter. Pittsburgh Panthers stars Tyler Boyd and James Conner were shredding the Cougar defense and everything looked all but hopeless for Houston. Then something that can only be described as college football magic occurred: Houston found a rhythm in their passing game and Pitt suddenly decided to Pitt.
Greg Ward Jr. and Kenneth Farrow had 13:49 to work with down 25 points, and they made the most of it as they went 86 yards in 3:14 and Farrow absolutely plowed through multiple Pitt defenders to cut the Panther lead to 31-13. Pitt drove into the Houston red zone and answered with a field goal with 6:07 left. From there, it would be all Cougars.
Ward opened a can on Pitt's secondary and unleashed two bombs to Kenneth Farrow and Markeith Ambles of 43 and 32 yards, respectively, and eventually found Deontay Greenberry for an 8 yard touchdown reception. The clock read 3:37 as Houston was still down 34-20.
Then the first onside kick happened. The ball appeared to have some bayou voodoo magic guiding it as it span around like a top and past the Pitt onside coverage right into the hands of Houston's Tyler White. After a holding penalty to start the drive, Ward again found Ambles for strikes of 23 and 13 yards. Pitt's defense then forced a 4th and 13 situation and Ward came up clutch in finding Demarcus Ayers on a 29 yard rainbow in the back of the end zone. With the score cut to 34-27 with 1:55 left, Houston lined up for their 2nd onside kick as a palpable buzz radiated around Amon G. Carter stadium.
Then Houston recovered again.
SECOND STRAIGHT ONSIDE KICK RECOVERY BY HOUSTON. Pitt had it recovered and let it slip away. Holy hell.— Underdog Dynasty (@underdogdynasty) January 2, 2015
Press box was just told to quiet down. Like, all of us.— Underdog Dynasty (@underdogdynasty) January 2, 2015
Pitt fans suddenly felt a sickly familiar feeling.
lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmaolmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao lmao— SPILLY NEW YEAR (@IAmSpilly) January 2, 2015
And Houston would make the most of the opportunity.
Greg Ward Jr. hit Deontay Greenberry on a 38 yard blast to set up Houston at the Pitt 19, then Houston went backwards on a false start and a 1 yard loss on a pass. Pitt looked like they were on the verge of escaping. Then on 3rd and 16, Ward and Greenberry came up clutch again with a 25 yard touchdown pass. 34-33, Pitt. Would Houston try and do what Central Michigan did in the Bahamas Bowl and win the game with a two point conversion?
Oh hell yes they did.
Pitt would drive down the field into Houston territory partly thanks to an untimely pass interference call on 4th and 2, but they were never able to get into field goal range as Chad Voytik's desperation heave on 4th and 10 with 7 seconds left fell harmlessly to the turf.
Final score: Houston 35, Pittsburgh 34.
This is why bowl season is so much fun, folks. What seemed like a meaningless game on the national scene with two interim head coaches on a miserable cold and wet day in Fort Worth ended up being one of the best finishes you'll ever see. Long live college football.
And dance your hearts out, Houston. You've earned it.