Rishaad Wimbley ran for two scores for SMU (8-5), which tied a school record by playing in its third consecutive bowl under coach June Jones.
Pittsburgh (6-7) was held without a first down and fell behind 21-0 in the first quarter. Kevin Harper kicked field goals of 32 and 34 yards.
NORTH DAKOTA STATE 17, SAM HOUSTON STATE 6
In Frisco, Texas, Brock Jensen threw a touchdown pass right after a fake punt, then had a 1-yard keeper for another score set up by a long interception return and North Dakota State won its first FCS championship.
Sam Houston (14-1) had its lowest-scoring game of the season, 33 points below its FCS-best average, and was denied an undefeated season and its first Football Championship Subdivision title. The Bearkats had only 210 total yards.
NORTH CAROLINA: The NCAA has granted fullback Devon Ramsay a hardship waiver, giving him an extra year of eligibility in 2012.
Ramsay tore several ligaments in his left knee in the 2011 season opener against James Madison. He had surgery in mid-September and missed the rest of the season.