Quick Lane Bowl: Pitt Panthers vs Eastern Michigan Eagles

Pitt Panthers

The Pitt Panthers have a tradition of excellence that date back to the early 1900’s. The Panthers have won nine National Championships, and have had some of the greatest players in the history of football call Pitt their alma mater. Pitt has 25 members in the College Football Hall of Fame and eight in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

NGSC Sports brings you the best Pitt Game Day Preview you will find anywhere! This is where true Panther fans come to find out about Pitt and their upcoming opponent! Mike Drakulich (@PghSportsNation) brings you inside the huddle for both teams, providing all fans with a weekly game story, the Panther key’s to success, score prediction, game day information, a detailed breakdown of each team, including individual stats, team stats, and team injury reports. Heck, you’ll even know the weather at kickoff! The only thing you’re missing is a game uniform!



All around town and even nationally, you will find people who scoff at the amount of bowl games there are today. Local media has had their laughs about Pitt being forced to play the day after Christmas, and not exactly in an exotic locale, that being Detroit for the Quick Lane Bowl at Ford Field.

Honestly, if you don’t like all the bowl games, too bad… don’t watch. I know of one group of young men that are excited to end their season on a high note.

“Coach Duzzi hasn’t won a bowl game,” Panther QB Kenny Pickett told Pitt athletics after practice on Tuesday. “So that’s definitely something we’re striving to get for him.”

Kicker Alex Kessman has his reasons as well.

“I just want to send the seniors out right and do my job to help these guys win,” said Kessman. “It would be really special. We didn’t get it done against Boston College, which is a shame. But we’re going to get it done on Thursday.”

After suffering a 2nd half collapse in a season that looked headed for big things, others want redemption and a chance to shine one more time inn 2019.

“This is a crazy experience. On an NFL field, which kid wouldn’t dream of this?” safety Paris Ford said. “And it being named Ford Field, my last name is Ford. That’s pretty dope.”

Senior wide receiver Maurice Ffrench would like to earn the satisfaction of finally winning a bowl game.

“We’ve never won a bowl game since I’ve been here,” Ffrench said last week. “It would be the best feeling to win that game and end my senior year off right.”

Senior linebacker Saleem Brightwell concurred with Ffrench.

“It would mean everything,” said Brightwell. “That’s our main mission.”


Panther Key’s to Success


  1. No dumb penalties: Penalties have been killer all year. Here’s to hoping an extra month of practice paid off.
  2. Can we stop dropping passes? It’s been a thorn in the side of Pitt’s offense all season.
  3. Get into the endzone: The Panthers move the ball well, but they rarely turn that into big points. Exploit the weaker MAC team and dominate.


  1. Play smart and play aggressive: Pitt has the better team and this will be the best defense Eastern Michigan has faced all year.


When the ACC Pitt Panthers (7-5) take the field the day after Christmas, they will be hungry to make amends for a lousy November, where the Panthers were outscored 54-19 in their last two games, ending all hopes of earning a ten win season for the first time in a decade.

Kenny Pickett would like to get the sour taste of completing just 43.2% of his pass attempts (29 of 67) for a measly 274 yards, no touchdowns and one interception in his last three contests.

The backbone of the team, the defense, will be saying good bye to several tremendous players, namely Damar Hamlin, Dane Jackson, Amir Watts and Kylan Johnson, and they’d like nothing more than to carve up Eastern Michigan (6-6), one of the weaker teams that managed to make a bowl out of the MAC.

It may not be the ending they wanted, but Pitt has a chance to lay the foundation for the 2020 season, one which they hope will lead to another Coastal Division title and perhaps even more. They will have most of their outstanding defense back and the offense should be infused with some much needed talent that should put more points up on the scoreboard and ease the burden off their defense.

We’ve all been waiting to witness Pitt playing a complete game, from start to finish. They are a maddening team that kills themselves with dumb penalties, dropped passes, and turnovers at the most inopportune times.

Perhaps it’s just wishful thinking, but after the awful losses to Virginia Tech and Boston College, maybe this team will dig deep and take out all of it’s frustrations on the Eagles of Eastern Michigan. We know the defense will be hungry to introduce some pain to Eagle’s mobile QB Mike Glass III and anyone else who dares touch the ball. Maybe the referees will even allow the Pitt defense to lay a few hard hits without penalties incurred. It’s all up to Kenny Pickett and the offense to shine and give a glimmer of hope for the 2020 season. Pickett needs to be confident and on target. The receivers need to make catches. Every skill player, when they get the ball, needs to protect it like it’s their grandma’s secret recipe for ribs. It would be nice to see the running game flourish and control the line of scrimmage. A.J. Davis, Vincent Davis, V’Lique Carter…. who wants it the most?

How much does this Panther team want to end a disappointing season on a high note?

Aww, what the hell, I’ve had their backs all season, what’s one more game…

Pitt 38 Eastern Michigan 17



Game Information

Pitt Panthers vs Eastern Michigan Eagles

  • Venue: Ford Field, Detroit, MI. | Field: FieldTurf
  • Game-time: Thursday, December 26th at 8:00 p.m. ET
  • Game Tickets Link
  • TV: ESPN | Announcers: Mike Corey (play-by-play) Rene Ingoglia (analysts) | Allison Williams (reporter)
  • Local Radio: Pittsburgh- 93.7 The Fan | Announcers: Larry Richert  (play-by-play) Pat Bostick (analyst) | Jeff Hathhorn (reporter)
  • Online Radio:
  • Sirius XM Satellite Radio:XM Channel 371, Internet Channel 371 (Pitt broadcast) | Sirius Channel 84, XM Channel 84, Internet Channel 84 (national)
  • Weather at Kickoff: Indoor Stadium
  • Vegas Line: Pitt -13



Pitt vs Eastern Michigan History

Series History: Began in 1995

Pitt is 2-0 overall vs Eastern Michigan

  • At Home: 2-0
  • On Road: 0-0
  • Neutral Site: 0-0
  • ACC Series: N/A
  • Streak: Pitt has won the last two games.
  • Last Regular Season Meeting: Sept. 5, 2007 (Pitt won, 27-3)


Did You Know?* 

  • The 2019 Quick Lane Bowl marks Pitt’s 35th all-time bowl appearance and fourth under the direction of Coach Pat Narduzzi. The Panthers enter the postseason with a 7-5 mark and can win eight games for the third time under Narduzzi.
  • This will be Pitt’s second alltime postseason trip to Detroit. The Panthers last played a bowl game at Ford Field in 2013, when the Panthers defeated Bowling Green, 30-27, behind MVP James Conner’s 229 rushing yards.
  • The Panthers are 32-4 alltime against MAC opponents, including a 20-10 victory over Ohio this season (Sept. 7). Pat Narduzzi is 2-0 against MAC foes as Pitt’s head coach.
  • Pitt boasts one of the country’s stingiest defenses. The Panthers enter the postseason owning top-35 national rankings in no fewer than nine categories.
  • Pitt ranks 11th in the nation in total defense, surrendering just 302.5 yards per game. The Panthers are also 11th in rushing defense (106.9 yards per game) and 20th in passing defense (195.6 yards per game).
  • Eastern Michigan features the MAC’s top passing game. EMU is throwing for more than 280 yards per contest, which ranks 29th nationally. Pitt counters with a pass rush that has compiled 49 sacks and ranks second nationally with an average of 4.08 sacks per game.
  • Since 2015, Pat Narduzzi has directed the Panthers to 24 victories in ACC play, tied for the third-highest win total (with Virginia Tech) during that span and trailing only Clemson (38) and Miami (25).

    *Courtesy of



Scouting the Pitt Panthers!

Overall Record: 7-5 | ACC Record: 4-4 | Rank: N/A

Head Coach: Pat Narduzzi (5th Season with Pitt)

  • Lifetime Record: 35-29 (.546)

2019 Pitt Panthers Roster

Pitt Team Statistics

Previous Game: Boston College 26 Pitt 19


OFFENSE (Pro Style)


Kenny Pickett*

Tough kid, has a good arm, but needs to elevate his game to be Pitt’s answer at QB. Needs to improve accuracy, especially downfield and in the redzone.

Passing Yards: 2,737

  • TD Passes: 10
  • Interceptions: 9
  • Sacks: 27

Yards Rushing: 105

  • Rushing TD’s: 2

Receptions: 1

  • Receiving Yards: 3
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Nick Patti

Filled in well for Pickett when he was out for the Delaware game.

Passing Yards: 301

  • TD Passes: 3
  • Interceptions: 1
  • Sacks: 0

Yards Rushing: 27

  • Rushing TD’s: 0


Running Backs

A.J. Davis*

Talented ball carrier, but has room for improvement.

Yards Rushing: 532

  • Rushing TD’s: 4

Receptions: 22

  • Yards Receiving: 264
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

V’lique Carter

Versatile player who also moonlights at WR and at cornerback. 

Yards Rushing: 231

  • Rushing TD’s: 0

Receptions: 16

  • Receiving Yards: 173
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Vincent Davis

The ultra quick Vincent Davis looks to utilize his speed and agility to be a game-breaker for the Panthers.

Yards Rushing: 245

  • Rushing TD’s: 4

Receptions: 3

  • Yards Receiving: 1
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Todd Sibley, Jr.

Has done well when his number has been called. Injuries have slowed him down.

Yards Rushing: 249

  • Rushing TD’s: 0

Receptions: 2

  • Yards Receiving: 18
  • Receiving TD’s: 0


Wide Receivers

Maurice Ffrench*

Once one of the best returners in the game. Has taken his receiving game to the next level in 2019.

Receptions: 84

  • Receiving Yards: 685
  • Receiving TD’s: 3

Taysir Mack*

Runs great routes and makes the big catches in traffic.

Receptions: 62

  • Receiving Yards: 711
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Shocky Jacques-Louis*

Has all the talent in the world. Being implemented into the passing attack more each week as he is fully healthy.

Receptions: 19

  • Receiving Yards: 280
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

Yards Rushing: 66

  • Rushing TD’s: 0

Aaron Mathews

Great blocker who would like to incorporate a few more catches intro his arsenal. Part time QB…

Receptions: 13

  • Receiving Yards: 220
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Dontavius Butler-Jenkins

Receptions: 6

  • Receiving Yards: 65
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Tre Tipton

Injured and out for the season.

Receptions: 7

  • Receiving Yards: 81
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Jared Wayne

Nice size with good speed. Future is bright for this talented frosh.

Receptions: 15

  • Receiving Yards: 215
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

John Vardzel

Receptions: 3

  • Receiving Yards: 6
  • Receiving TD’s: 0


Tight Ends

Nakia Griffin-Stewart*

Physical player, but drops way too many passes.

Receptions: 17

  • Receiving Yards: 175
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Will Gragg

Receptions: 18

  • Receiving Yards: 141
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

*Denotes Starter


Left Tackle: Carter Warren/Carson Van Lynn

Left Guard: Bryce Hargrove

Center: Jimmy Morrissey

Right Guard: Gabe Houy/Jake Kradel

Right Tackle: Nolan Ulizio


DEFENSE (Base 4-3)

Defensive End: Patrick Jones II

Defensive Tackle: Jaylen Twyman

Defensive Tackle: Amir Watts/Devin Danielson

Defensive End: Deslin Alexandre

Money LB: Kylan Johnson

Mike LB: Saleem Brightwell/Chase Pine

Star LB: Phil Campbell III/Cam Bright

Cornerback: Dane Jackson

Strong Safety: Paris Ford

Free Safety: Damar Hamlin

Cornerback: Damarri Mathis/Jason Pinnock




Alex Kessman

Had some early misses, but has been back on track since the UCF game. 

Extra Points: 25-26

FG: 16-24

  • 0-19:  0-1 | 20-29:  8-9 | 30-39:  4-5 | 40-49:  7-10 | 50+:  1-3
  • Long: 54



Kirk Christodoulou

Yards per Punt: 42.7


Kickoff Returner

Maurice Ffrench

Ffrench averaged 27.4 yards per return last year with two touchdowns.

Yards per Kickoff Return: 17.3

  • Return TD’s: 0

A.J. Wood

Yards per Kickoff Return: 15.6

  • Return TD’s: 0


Punt Returner

Maurice Ffrench

Yards per Kickoff Return: 6.0

  • Return TD’s: 0




Scouting the Eastern Michigan Eagles!

Overall Record: 6-6 | Mid-American Record: 3-5 | Rank: N/A

Head Coach: Chris Creighton (6th Season with Eastern Michigan)

  • Lifetime Record: 167-92 (.644) | 28-46 (.378 with Eastern Michigan)

2019 Eastern Michigan Eagles Roster

Eastern Michigan Team Statistics

Previous Game: Kent State 34 Eastern Michigan 26



Mike Glass III*

Good arm, smart and doesn’t make many blunders. Will take off and run if nothing is available downfield.

Passing Yards: 2,858

  • TD Passes: 22
  • Interceptions: 10
  • Sacks: 12

Yards Rushing: 345

  • Rushing TD’s: 7


Running Backs

Shaq Vann*

The Eagles leader in rushing and touchdowns.

Yards Rushing: 667

  • Rushing TD’s: 8

Receptions: 8

  • Yards Receiving: 44
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Jairius Grissom

Yards Rushing: 162

  • Rushing TD’s: 1

Receptions: 3

  • Yards Receiving: 22
  • Receiving TD’s: 1

Willie Parker

Yards Rushing: 142

  • Rushing TD’s: 2

Receptions: 2

  • Yards Receiving: 0
  • Receiving TD’s: 0

Breck Turner

Yards Rushing: 100

  • Rushing TD’s: 0

Receptions: 14

  • Yards Receiving: 100
  • Receiving TD’s: 0


Wide Receivers

Quian Williams*

Glass’ 2nd favorite target nabbing up 50 catches during the season.

Receptions: 50

  • Receiving Yards: 593
  • Receiving TD’s: 5

Arthur Jackson III*

Jackson is the Eagle’s deep threat, gaining 679 yards off of 39 receptions. 17.4 yards per catch.

Receptions: 39

  • Receiving Yards: 679
  • Receiving TD’s: 6

Dillon Drummond*

The Eagles leading reception leader with 51.

Receptions: 51

  • Receiving Yards: 483
  • Receiving TD’s: 3

Mathew Sexton

Receptions: 34

  • Receiving Yards: 508
  • Receiving TD’s: 4

Line Latu

Receptions: 28

  • Receiving Yards: 338
  • Receiving TD’s: 3

Hassan Beydoun

Receptions: 21

  • Receiving Yards: 236
  • Receiving TD’s: 1


Tight Ends

Bryson Cannon*

Receptions: 20

  • Receiving Yards: 212
  • Receiving TD’s: 2

*Denotes Starter


DEFENSE (Base 3-4)

Pretty bad… allowing opposing teams 428.3 total yards per game, 202.4 of which on the ground. Giving up 30.3 points per game. DB Vince Calhoun leads the team with 144 tackles and has two sacks. Fellow DB Brody Hoying has four interceptions.




Chad Rylan

Extra Points: 32-35

FG: 11-16

  • 0-19: 0-0 | 20-29: 7-8 | 30-39: 1-4 | 40-49: 1-2 | 50+: 2-3
  • Long: 52



Injury Report (12/25/19)


  • Out: DL Rashad Weaver (ACL), DE Keyshon Camp (Knee), WR Tre Tipton (knee)
  • Doubtful: None
  • Questionable: RB Todd Sibley, WR Taysir Mack
  • Probable: None

Eastern Michigan

  • Out: None
  • Doubtful: None
  • Questionable: None
  • Probable: None


Offensive Stats

Total Yards per game 

  • Pitt: 374.1
  • Eastern Michigan: 402.8

Passing Yards per game

  • Pitt: 253.4
  • Eastern Michigan: 280.8

Rushing Yards per game

  • Pitt: 120.7
  • Eastern Michigan: 121.9

Points per game

  • Pitt: 20.1
  • Eastern Michigan: 29.1


Defensive Stats

Total Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 302.5
  • Eastern Michigan: 428.3

Passing Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 195.6
  • Eastern Michigan: 225.8

Rushing Yards per game allowed

  • Pitt: 106.9
  • Eastern Michigan: 202.4

Points Allowed

  • Pitt: 21.8
  • Eastern Michigan: 30.3


  • Pitt: 49
  • Eastern Michigan: 20


  • Pitt: 8
  • Eastern Michigan: 11

Fumbles Recovered

  • Pitt: 5
  • Eastern Michigan: 9


Pitt Panthers 2019 Schedule

Regular Season: Overall: 7-5 |  ACC: 4-4

August 31: Virginia*, L- 30-14
September 7: Ohio, W- 20-10
September 14: at #13 Penn State, L- 17-10
September 21: #15 UCF, W- 35-34
September 28: Delaware, W- 17-14
October 5: at Duke*, W- 33-30
October 18: (Friday) at Syracuse*, W- 27-20
October 26: Miami*, L- 16-12
November 2: at Georgia Tech*, W- 20-10
November 14: (Thursday) North Carolina*, W- 34-27 (OT)
November 23: at #25 Virginia Tech* L- 28-0
November 30: Boston College*, L- 26-19

*ACC game | (HC) Homecoming | Bold = Home Game


Author Profile

Mike DrakulichYour source for Pittsburgh sports!
From Midland, "The Basketball Capital of Pennsylvania", located 35 miles NW of Pittsburgh along the Ohio River. This former steel town was home to storied athletes such as Dave Alston, Norm Van Lier, Simmie Hill, and the legendary 1965 Midland High School Basketball Team.

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As Editor of Pittsburgh SportsNation, Mike Drakulich provides top notch opinions and coverage of the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Penguins, Pittsburgh Pirates, Pitt Panthers football & basketball, Robert Morris Colonials basketball, and Duquesne Dukes basketball, as well as all sports teams that represent Western Pennsylvania, including WPIAL High School Football.

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