BIRMINGHAM, Alabama (AP) — Mississippi beat Pittsburgh 38-17 in the BBVA Compass Bowl to complete an impressive turnaround under first-year coach Hugh Freeze in college football on Saturday.
Ole Miss (7-6) took a five-win improvement over its 2-10 finish in 2011. Pitt (6-7) struggled on offense as leading rusher Ray Graham was held out with a hamstring injury he suffered in practice. The Panthers fell behind in the opening minutes after quarterback Tino Sunseri threw his first interception since Sept. 15 and trailed for the remainder of the game.
Bo Wallace threw three touchdown passes for Ole Miss. His 13-yard touchdown pass to Ja-Mess Logan gave the Rebels a 7-0 lead. Wallace added first-half touchdown passes to Randall Mackey, for 27 yards, and Vince Sanders, for 18 yards.
Pitt, under first-year coach Paul Chryst, was making its third straight appearance in the bowl. The Panthers lost to SMU in last year's game. The Panthers played their last game as a Big East team. They are moving to the Atlantic Coast Conference next season.
Wallace, chosen the game's MVP, completed 22 of 32 passes for 151 yards with three touchdowns and two interceptions. Ole Miss backup quarterback Barry Brunetti had a 1-yard touchdown run in the third quarter and freshman running back I'Tavius Mathers added a 62-yard scoring run midway through the fourth quarter to cap the rout.