DETROIT — Playing a middling Eastern Michigan squad in the 2019 Quick Lane Bowl, Pitt led for just 47 seconds.
They happened to be the final 47 seconds.
Kenny Pickett hit Taysir Mack for a 25-yard touchdown with 47 seconds left to play in the fourth quarter to give Pitt a 34-30 lead that the defense held a few players to give the Panthers a bowl victory and an eight-win season.
The bowl win was the first under Pat Narduzzi, who improved to 1-3 in bowl games as a head coach and Pitt’s first since the 2013 Motor City Bowl, which was also played at Ford Field.
The game did not get off to a good start for the Panthers. In the first quarter, Pitt spotted Eastern Michigan a 10-point lead with a first-drive field goal and a touchdown following a short field after a Pickett fumble.
Pitt was able to tie the game thanks to a 96-yard touchdown pass from Pickett to Maurice Ffrench in the second quarter, but was never able to break through for a lead, with the Eagles leading or tied throughout.
After Ffrench’s long score, a Mike Glass bounced off the hands of Pitt cornerback Damarri Mathis and right to EMU’s Quian Williams for a 50-yard score. After the teams traded field goals. Arthur Jackson scored from 10 yards out to give the Eagles a 27-20 lead early in the fourth quarter.
Pickett hit Jared Wayne for a 19-yard score to even it once again with 2:16 to play. A knuckling Chad Rylan field goal gave EMU a three-point lead before Mack erased it to finally put Pitt ahead.
Pickett finished 27 of 39 from 361 yards with three touchdowns. Ffrench had 12 catches for 165 yards. Vincent Davis led Pitt’s rushers with 69 yards on 15 carries. Pickett was named the player of the game.