Ford Field, Detroit, MI — December 27, 2019
Last night’s Quick Lane Bowl drew 34,000 people to Ford Field in downtown Detroit. A record turnout for the 6th edition of the game. Eastern Michigan and Pitt fans flooded the streets of Greektown before the game. It was a short wait for restaurant seating and standing room only at the bars as the local economy got a nice spike from the fan bases of both schools.
An 8:00 pm start time should have given the crowds plenty of time to get to Ford Field, even for a weekday night. But, the lower bowl of the stadium did not fill up until well into the 1st quarter. Maybe it was all the entertainment options provided on the concourse.
Not Just a Game, An Event
As fans entered the stadium they were greeted by Roary, the Detroit Lions Mascot. Hugs, high fives, and fist bumps accompanied pictures and selfies.
Paul Menard’s NASCAR race car with it’s Quick Lane Bowl paint job was displayed next to the giant Christmas tree in the end zone lobby. Other activities included a Kareoke stage to impress with your singing talent, a mini putt-putt course, Fowling (throwing a football at bowling pins), a vertical jump test, posing with player manikins from both teams and the Quick Lane Bowl Trophy, even a live band to keep the atmosphere rocking.
The Game Pitt 34 – Eastern Michigan 30
What was a great contest on the field is likely to be remembered for what occurred in the last 10 seconds of the game. After a 3rd down incompletion left EMU with a 4th and 10 and only five seconds left on the clock, Eastern quarterback Mike Glass took offense to the aggressive play of Pitt defenders. Glass threw a punch connecting with the face mask of a Pitt player. Another defender stepped in, as did the referee to break up the confrontation. Glass threw another punch that unfortunately connected with the official’s cheek knocking him to the ground. Glass was ejected.
After passing for 311 yards and two touchdowns, Glass also added 83 yards rushing and another TD, his memory of the game will be scared with the actions of losing his temper. Sitting dejectedly with tears streaming down his face in the locker room, Glass apologized. An honorable gesture, though it does not erase the shame brought upon himself, his team, and the event due to his lack of sportsmanship.
Prior to the incident, the end to end action brought spectators on both sides of the stadium to their feet cheering their respective institutions. Open the upper seating area for the 2020 edition of the Quick Lane Bowl, the extra space will be needed as the interest in the game continues to grow.