The first half of the Quick Lane Bowl was largely agonizing for the Pitt faithful, as the team got off to a sluggish start and seemed disinterested in mounting an effort to win the game. However, down 10-3 in the second quarter and backed up to their own 4-yard line after a well-executed Eastern Michigan punt, Pitt’s Kenny Pickett and Maurice Ffrench came up with a play for the ages.
With Pickett’s back foot dotting the “i” in the Pitt logo in his team’s own end zone, he found Ffrench streaking through the middle of the field and lofted a pass into his hands at the 36-yard line. Ffrench then jetted past Eastern Michigan defensive backs Blake Bogan and Kevin McGill and traversed the remaining 64 yards to the end zone to even the score at 10.
The pass from Pickett to French went for a total of 96 yards, making it the longest pass play in the history of the Pitt football program. And more importantly for the Panthers’ immediate purposes, it served as the Pitt offense’s first sign of life in what had been an embarrassing effort up to that point.
It also seemed to spark the Pitt offense, as the team scored on its next drive. However, Pitt got no help from its defense, which allowed a touchdown and a field goal on Eastern Michigan’s next two drives, bringing the score to 20-17, Eastern Michigan, at the half.