The Eastern Michigan Eagles (6-6, 3-5) will face the Pittsburgh Panthers (7-5, 4-4) in the Quick Lane Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 26 at Ford Field in Detroit. The announcement that these two will play was made on Sunday, Dec. 8. This is the fifth bowl game appearance in school history and the first time ever the Eagles have reached two straight bowl games.
Eastern Michigan has only faced Pittsburgh once in school history as EMU lost 27-3 on Sept. 1, 2007 at Heinz Field in Pittsburgh. The Eagles got up 3-0 before allowing 27 consecutive points. Andy Schmitt had 106 yards and one interception for EMU, while LaSean McCoy ran for 68 yards on 10 carries for Pittsburgh in the victory.
The first-ever bowl game in program history occurred on Dec. 11, 1971 as the Eagles took on Louisiana Tech in the Pioneer Bowl. The game took place at Memorial Stadium in Wichita Falls, Texas. Eastern Michigan fell 14-3. Ken Lantrip was named the Offensive MVP for the Bulldogs.
EMU wouldn’t make a bowl game for another 16 years until Dec. 12, 1987. The Eagles won their first and only bowl game in school history at Bulldog Stadium in Fresno, Calif. Gary Patton, the Eagles running back, led the team to a 30-27 victory as they outscored San Jose State 13-6 in the fourth quarter.
Following that win, EMU would go 29 years in between bowl game appearances. The Eagles lost 24-20 against Old Dominion in the Bahamas Bowl on Dec. 23, 2016 at Thomas Robinson Stadium. Eastern Michigan lost the game but finished with more first downs (28-20), yards (470-394) and pass completions (26-11).
The most recent bowl game happened last season as the Eagles went down 23-21 versus Georgia Southern on Dec. 15, 2018 in the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, Ala. Mike Glass III had 204 yards and three touchdowns for the Eagles, while Willie Parker ran for a team-high 44 yards on nine carries. Arthur Jackson III added 86 yards and two touchdowns.
EMU will look to earn their second-ever bowl victory over Pittsburgh on Thursday, Dec. 26 in the final game of the season. The Panthers are 11-point favorites ahead of the game. According to ESPN FPI, the Eagles have a 30.1% chance to win. The game will kickoff at 8 PM.