It’s confirmed. Pitt is headed back to the Sun Bowl this season.
PSN has confirmed, with Action Network’s Brett McMurphy first reporting, that Pitt will take on No. 18 UCLA in the 2022 Sun Bowl in El Pasa, Texas. It is Pitt’s fifth trip down to Sun Bowl Stadium, and the first since a loss to Stanford in 2018.
The Sun Bowl is pitted between an ACC team, with it being the conference’s fifth choice bowl, and a Pac-12 team, which ranges from the conference’s fourth through eighth choice. It is Pitt and UCLA’s first meeting since a 38-28 UCLA win in 1972.
UCLA has put together a 9-3 season, led by quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet, and neither has made the decision to play in the bowl or not. It is also unclear, aside from Calijah Kancey who is not playing, which Pitt players will opt out.
Pitt is 5-9 all-time against UCLA, but all 13 meetings occurred between 1958-72. Of course, Pitt and the Sun Bowl do have history.
Pitt’s first appearance in the Sun Bowl occurred back in 1975, a 33-19 win over Kansas in which Tony Dorsett, Eliot Walker and Robert Haygood each racked up 100 yards on the ground.
Pitt made it back once again in 1989, although it was called the John Hancock Bowl, knocking off Texas A&M 31-28. Alex Van Pelt threw for 350 yards and two touchdowns in an MVP performance.
The most recent appearance wasn’t all that long ago, appearing in the 2018 edition — a 14-13 loss to Stanford following an ACC championship game loss to Clemson.
But the only Sun Bowl that will draw an audible reaction is the 2008 Sun Bowl. A 3-0 monstrosity in which Oregon State and Pitt combined for five turnovers, 20 punts and just one field goal — on a botched snap.
Pitt managed just 178 yards of offense in the game — 91 of which came from LeSean McCoy.
The Sun Bowl is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 30 at Sun Bowl Stadium in El Paso, Texas.