Pitt football to play in Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 28



The Pitt Panthers will play the Northwestern Wildcats in the 2016 Pinstripe Bowl. TNS

By Steve Rotstein | Sports Editor

For the first time in 54 years, the Pitt football team will be playing in the home of the most successful franchise in American pro sports — the New York Yankees.

The Panthers will take on the Northwestern Wildcats in the Bronx, New York, in the 2016 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28. The Panthers played at the original ballpark twice before, in a 3-0 loss vs. Syracuse in 1923 and a 7-6 win vs. Army in 1962, but haven’t played in the new park, which was built in 2009.

Pitt found out the destination for its 33rd all-time postseason appearance when the Pinstripe Bowl announced it on Twitter Sunday afternoon.

“On behalf of our football program, I would like to thank the New Era Pinstripe Bowl for the opportunity to play in this year’s game,” Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said in a press release. “We are thrilled about the opportunity to play a bowl game in a world-class city and prestigious venue.”

But Narduzzi and the Panthers aren’t losing sight of the task at hand — trying to beat Northwestern and improve on last year’s 8-5 record with a 9-4 finish in Narduzzi’s second season.

“I’ve heard so many tremendous things about the first-class treatment provided by the Yankees,” Narduzzi said in the release. “We are looking forward to the experience and especially the challenge of facing Pat Fitzgerald’s Northwestern team, a coach and program I respect tremendously.”

Pitt earned the selection after posting an 8-4 regular season and 5-3 record in conference play, which tied the team for second place in the ACC Coastal Division with Virginia Tech and North Carolina. Northwestern, meanwhile, enters the matchup with a 6-6 overall record after a 5-4 finish in the Big Ten conference.

“Congratulations to our student athletes and coaches for finishing an exciting regular season on a fantastic high note and earning a tier one bowl bid,” Pitt athletic director Scott Barnes said in the release.

According to Barnes, Pitt sold out its 7,000-ticket allotment for the Military Bowl last year and more than 10,000 fans showed up in all. Pitt will again start with an allotment of 7,000 tickets this year.

“Last year’s performance by our fans resonated with the bowl community,” Barnes told reporters Sunday night. “There’s an expectation, so we’re eager to get our fans back on the bandwagon, so to speak, and rally around our team.”

This will be the seventh matchup between the Panthers and Wildcats, with the series tied at three games apiece. Pitt won the last meeting during the 1973 season, 21-14.

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