The Pitt football team will play No. 21 U.S. Naval Academy in the Military Bowl in Annapolis, Maryland, on Dec. 28.
The Panthers (8-4, 6-2 ACC) will compete in a bowl game for the eighth straight year after gaining eligibility with at least six wins and will face off against the 9-2 Midshipmen.
Navy lost its last game Nov. 27, to No. 14 Houston, which beat Pitt 35-34 in last season’s Armed Forces Bowl.
The Midshipmen rely heavily on the ground attack and rank second in the country with 330 rushing yards per game. They rank 16th in the country with 37 points per game.
Pitt leads the all-time series against Navy 22-14-1.
Navy runs its offense through Heisman contender Keenan Reynolds. The quarterback has 19 rushing touchdowns and more than 1,000 yards on the ground this season to tack on to his six passing scores.
After losing to Notre Dame Oct. 10, Navy rattled off five straight wins, including a 45-20 victory over then-No. 13 Memphis.
Pitt head coach Pat Narduzzi said in a release that he and the team are excited to play a nationally ranked opponent in the bowl game.
“Given our close proximity to Annapolis, we are looking for a great contingent of Pitt fans to make the short trek and see us play one more time this year,” Narduzzi said.
Some Pitt players, however, expressed mixed feelings on social media about the selection, as Pitt was at one point a contender for tier-one bowl games.
“I’m patiently waiting for them to say ‘sike naw’,” Pitt defensive back Jevonte Pitts tweeted.
Linebacker Bam Bradley added, “A tier 2 bowl at 8-4. Wow!”
Shortly after, defensive back Reggie Mitchell and others posted that they were still thankful for the opportunity to play another game.
“Gonna be a great bowl experience,” Mitchell tweeted. “[Playing] vs a great team & spending time in MD/DC area will be fun!”
The bowl game will kick off 2:30 p.m. on ESPN.