The Military Bowl presented by Northrop Grumman, benefiting the USO, today announced that the University of Pittsburgh has accepted an invitation to play in this year’s game. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. EST on Monday, Dec. 28 at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md. The game will be televised on ESPN.
The Panthers (8-4) will play 21st-ranked Navy (9-2). Both teams finished second in their respective conference divisions, Pittsburgh in the ACC Coastal and Navy in the American’s West Division.
“What an incredible matchup for our game,” Military Bowl President & Executive Director Steve Beck said. “We feel fortunate to have a team the caliber of Pittsburgh face off against Navy, which is in the midst of one of the greatest seasons in school history. The Panthers play an exciting brand of football and we are sure there will be a buzz in Annapolis on gameday.”
Pittsburgh leads the all-time series between the teams, 22-14-3. The teams last met in 2013, when Navy scored a 24-21 victory in Annapolis.
Under first-year coach Pat Narduzzi, Pittsburgh is enjoying its best season in six years while playing a schedule that included eight teams that will play in bowl games. The Panthers went 6-2 in the Atlantic Coast Conference and featured both the ACC Offensive Rookie of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year in running back Qadree Ollison and strong safety Jordan Whitehead. Whitehead became the first defensive player to be named the ACC overall Rookie of the Year since Dre Bly of North Carolina in 1996.
The Panthers will be playing in a bowl game for the eighth consecutive season. This will be their first Military Bowl appearance.
Navy, which concludes its regular history on Saturday with its annual game against Army, is in the midst of a historic season. Led by record-setting quarterback Keenan Reynolds, the Midshipmen can tie the school single-season record for victories by beating Army and would set a new mark by winning that game along with a bowl victory. Reynolds has set a new NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision all-time record with 83 rushing touchdowns and also has tied the FBS all-time record with 83 total touchdowns.
The Midshipmen have spent the past five weeks in the national rankings, the longest stretch they have spent in the rankings since 1963
This will be Navy’s 12th bowl appearance in the past 13 years, including a 29-19 loss to Wake Forest in 2008 in the inaugural EagleBank Bowl, which was the predecessor to the Military Bowl. The Midshipmen have won their past two bowl games.