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Pitt to face Eastern Michigan in Quick Lane Bowl

NCAA Football: Miami at Pittsburgh Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

After starting the 2019 season 7-3 and putting itself into the conversation for a second straight ACC Coastal title, Pitt faded in its final two regular-season games to finish 7-5, and its reward is a trip to Detroit on Dec. 26 to face Eastern Michigan in the Quick Lane Bowl.

“You’re only guaranteed 12 games in college football, so the opportunity to play one more time in 2019 is something our team is not going to take for granted,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said in a statement. “Coach [Chris] Creighton has done an impressive job at Eastern Michigan. They had a great road win over a Big Ten bowl team in Illinois this season. We look forward to the challenge.”

In the weeks leading up to Championship Saturday, Pitt had been projected to land in more desirable bowls, including the Pinstripe Bowl, Military Bowl, Belk Bowl and Music City Bowl. However, the Pinstripe Bowl went to Wake Forest, the Military Bowl went to North Carolina, the Belk Bowl went to Virginia Tech and the Music City Bowl went to Louisville.

While the Quick Lane Bowl may not be the bowl game most Pitt fans wanted, it may be more beneficial to Pitt than some of the other landing spots that had been proposed for the team. For starters, it pairs Pitt with Eastern Michigan, a 6-6 team that finished fifth in the MAC West behind two teams that failed to reach bowl eligibility. In addition, Detroit is the site of the last Pitt bowl win, which also came against a MAC opponent on Dec. 26, 2013.

Pitt has struggled to a 2-6 record in bowl games in the 2010s and has never won a bowl game under Narduzzi despite playing in four during his tenure. The Quick Lane Bowl represents an opportunity for Pitt to finish the season with an 8-5 record and for Narduzzi to notch his first bowl win as the head coach of the Panthers. The game will kick off from Detroit's Ford Field on Dec. 26 at 8 p.m. ET.