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College football bowl season heats up

Dec. 26, 2002 at 1:04 PM

, Dec. 26 (UPI) -- The Big East Conference has five teams playing in bowl games, beginning with Boston College and Pittsburgh on Thursday.

Boston College will be making a school-record fourth straight bowl appearances when it meets Toledo in the Motor City Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit. Thursday's other bowl game is in Phoenix, where No. 23 Pittsburgh opposes Oregon State in the Insight Bowl at Bank One Ballpark.

Boston College (8-4) endured an up-and-down year, but concluded its regular season with a three-game winning streak. The biggest win was a 14-7 victory at previously unbeaten Notre Dame on Nov. 2. Also, B-C Coach Tom O'Brien can become the school's coach to win three bowl games.

Running back Derrick Knight spearheaded the Eagles' late run and finished the year with 1,367 yards, the fourth-highest total in school history. Brian St. Pierre, who will end his career third on Boston College's all-time passing yards list behind Doug Flutie and Glenn Foley, has thrown for 2,641 yards this year.

Toledo (9-4) is making its second straight appearance in the Motor City Bowl after beat Cincinnati last season.

Brian Jones put together a solid season for Toledo, passing for a school-record 3,115 yards.

Pittsburgh (8-4) reached eight wins this year for the first time since 1989, and earned its first national ranking since 1991. The Panthers emerged as a contender in the Big East behind the league's top passing tandem of Rod Rutherford and Larry Fitzgerald.

The Panthers gave top-ranked Miami a huge scare on Nov. 21, reaching the Hurricanes 25 in the final minute before falling short, 28-21. The following week, the Panthers suffered a 24-17 setback to West Virginia that left them in third place in the Big East.

Oregon State (8-4) was last in a bowl game in 2000, when it routed Notre Dame, 41-9, in the Fiesta Bowl.

Steven Jackson of the Beavers set a school record by rushing for 1,656 yards, the sixth-highest total in Pac-10 history, and the highest for a non-Southern California running back.

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