Pitt football to play in Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl against No. 18 UCLA


Hannah Wilson | Senior Staff Photographer

Senior linebacker SirVocea Dennis (7) and junior linebacker Bangally Kamara (11) celebrate during Pitt football’s game against Duke Saturday afternoon at Acrisure Stadium.

By Richie Smiechowski, Assistant Sports Editor

Pitt football announced Sunday afternoon that they accepted an invitation to play in the 2022 Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl against No. 18 UCLA (9-3, 6-3 PAC-12). The game will take place in El Paso, Texas.

As a program, Pitt has had four prior Sun Bowl appearances and are 2-2 all time in those games. Since 2000, the Panthers have appeared in it twice — the first time in 2008, when they lost 3-0 to Oregon State and the second time in 2018, when they lost 14-13 to Stanford.

A win for the Panthers would signify their first back-to-back nine-win seasons since their 1981-82 campaigns. It will also be their first bowl win since Pitt beat Eastern Michigan 34-30 in the 2019 Quick Lane Bowl. 

Since taking over as head coach in 2015, Pat Narduzzi is 1-4 in bowl games at Pitt. Last year, the Panthers lost in the Peach Bowl 31-21 against Michigan State. 

On the other side, the Bruins are having their best season since 2014, led by senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson. The signal caller has 2,883 yards in the air this season and a 24-7 interception to touchdown ratio. He’s effective with his feet as well, with 631 yards on the ground and 11 rushing touchdowns. 

Like the Panthers, the Bruins have also played in four Sun Bowls all time and are 4-0 in the contest. Their last appearance was against Virginia Tech in 2013. The two programs have faced off 14 times, with UCLA holding a 9-5 advantage. 

The game is set for Dec. 30 at 2 p.m. The game will be nationally televised on CBS.