It’s official. The Pitt Panthers will be playing the Northwestern Wildcats in the Pinstripe Bowl on December 28th at 2 PM in New York, New York.
— NewEraPinstripeBowl (@PinstripeBowl) December 4, 2016
For the season, Pitt went 8-4 (5-3 ACC) and finished 4th in the ACC Coastal Division.
The Panthers, ranked 22nd in the latest AP Top 25 poll and 23rd in the final CFB Rankings, own two wins against AP Top 5 schools and two conference champions; a feat only they can claim.
Pitt’s 42-39 victory over Penn State on September 10th came when the Nittany Lions were unranked, but Penn State ended the season on a nine game winning streak. The Nittany Lions won the Big 10 with a win over Wisconsin last night, yet narrowly missed out on an appearance in the CFB Playoffs, finishing 5th in the (final regular season) AP Poll and 5th in the CFB’s final rankings.
Pitt’s other top 5 victory came on the road against a Clemson team which finished 3rd in the AP Top 25 and 2nd in the final CFB Rankings and hadn’t lost a home game since 2012.
The Panthers opponent in the Pinstripe bowl will be the Northwestern Wildcats, who finished 4th in the Big Ten – West.
Northwestern (6-6, 5-4 Big Ten) struggled to start the season, with losses to Western Michigan and non-BCS Illinois State. After beating Duke 24-13, they lost to a ranked Nebraska squad, one of three losses against ranked teams, before ripping off three consecutive victories over Iowa, Michigan State and Indiana. Back to back losses against #6 Ohio State and #8 Wisconsin left the Wildcats at 4-5, but victories over Purdue and Illinois (sandwiching a loss to Minnesota) got them to 6-6 and bowl eligibility.
On offense Northwestern boasts a trio of talented threats: QB Clayton Thorson (2968 yards passing, 21 touchdowns) WR Austin Carr (84 catches, 1196 yards, 12 TDs) and RB Justin Jackson (266 carries for 1300 yards, 12 TDs). But little else beyond the three stars.
For the season, the Wildcats are 94th in the nation in offense with 25.6 points per game and 23rd in the nation in defense; allowing only 22.1 points per game.
Stat to watch: Northwestern is 2-10 all time in bowl games, which is the second lowest winning percentage in the history of the FBS (of teams with a minimum of one victory).
— NewEraPinstripeBowl (@PinstripeBowl) November 22, 2016