Panthers grounded by Northwestern, 31-24

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Justin Jackson dives for a touchdown in the second quarter. -- GETTY

NEW YORK — Safety help for Pitt's cornerbacks fixed the leaky pass defense, but it came at a price and a short-handed offense couldn't keep up with Northwestern.

With James Conner and Nathan Peterman injured on the sideline Wednesday, the Panthers committed three turnovers in the final six minutes and Northwestern held on behind a dominant rushing attack for a 31-24 win in the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.

A season where the secondary ranked 127th in the country in passing yards allowed per game ended with Northwestern's Justin Jackson rushing for 226 yards and three touchdowns against Pitt (8-5).