DETROIT (AP) — Kenny Pickett threw a 25-yard touchdown pass to Taysir Mack with 47 seconds left and Pittsburgh held on to beat Eastern Michigan 34-30 in the Quick Lane Bowl on Thursday night.
After taking its first lead of the game, Pittsburgh (8-5) then forced Eastern Michigan (6-7) to turn it over on downs from its 40. That sealed Pitt's first bowl victory in five appearances under coach Pat Narduzzi.
The Eagles came up just short in a closely contested game just as they did in three previous bowls under coach Chris Creighton.
Eastern Michigan quarterback Mike Glass was ejected with 10 seconds left after throwing punches at two players. Eagles cornerback Kevin McGill was ejected earlier for unsportsmanlike conduct.
Glass was 28 of 50 for 311 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. The senior also ran for 83 yards and a score.
Pickett completed 27 of 39 passes for 361 yards and three scores, including a school-record, 96-yard TD pass to Maurice Ffrench. Ffrench finished with 12 catches for 165 yards, most of which came on the tying score in the second quarter.
Ffrench had 96 receptions this season, breaking Larry Fitzgerald's school record of 92 set in 2003.
Glass surpassed Charlie Batch's single-season record of 3,390 yards of total offense set in 1997.
Pitt: Coaching continuity with offensive coordinator Mark Whipple returning for a second season should help the program. The offense showed some signs of life in the bowl game after scoring 20 or fewer points in eight games this season.
Eastern Michigan: The program is on solid footing, earning consecutive bowl bids for the first time and three in four years after previously doing it only once as a Division I team. The Eagles will just have to hope they can keep coach Chris Creighton away from Power Five conference schools.
Pitt: Hosts Miami of Ohio on Sept. 5. The Panthers will have a chance to be very good on defense if defensive lineman Jaylen Twyman, Patrick Jones and safety Paris Ford all choose to stay in college instead of entering the NFL draft.
Eastern Michigan: Plays at Kentucky on Sept. 5. The Eagles will be breaking in a new quarterback, attempting to replace Glass. Preston Hutchinson and Jairus Grissom gained some experience in 2019 and will likely have a shot to start next season.
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