LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

P.J. Fleck is rowing his boat back to Ford Field.

Minnesota will play Georgia Tech in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 — the first time Fleck will be at Ford Field since he was coaching Western Michigan to the Mid-American Conference championship in 2016.

"Some of our greatest moments our staff has had as coaches happened at Ford Field," Fleck told The News on Sunday night, speaking of the 29-23 victory over Ohio in the 2016 MAC championship.

"We loved every minute of our experience in the city of Detroit."

Fleck, 38, was Western's coach from 2013-16, compiling a 30-22 record. 

Minnesota was 5-7 in his first season, then Minnesota (6-6) routed Wisconsin, 37-15, in this year's regular-season finale to get bowl-eligible for the sixth time in seven years. Two weeks earlier, Minnesota crushed Purdue, 41-10.

It's Fleck's first bowl since he guided Western to the New Year's Six Cotton Bowl on Jan. 2, 2017, leading to the Big Ten job later that week.

This is Minnesota's second Quick Lane Bowl appearance, having beaten Central Michigan, 21-14, in 2015.

Georgia Tech (7-5) will be the swan song for coach Paul Johnson, 61, who announced last week that he is retiring after 11 seasons on the job. He coached six seasons at Navy before that, and five at Georgia Southern before that.

This is the third time in five Quick Lane bowls that a Big Ten team will square off against an ACC team.

Kickoff is set for 5:15 p.m., with tickets ranging from $16 to $89. They can be purchased at quicklanebowl.com.

Quick Lane Bowl history

2014: Rutgers 40, Northern Carolina 21 (attendance: 23,876)

2015: Minnesota 21, Central Michigan 14 (34,217)

2016: Boston College 36, Maryland 30 (19,117)

2017: Duke 36, Northern Illinois 14 (20,211)

2018 Quick Lane Bowl

Who: Minnesota vs. Georgia Tech

When: 5:15 Dec. 26, Ford Field, Detroit

Records: Minnesota 6-6, Georgia Tech 7-5

TV: ESPN

Tickets: quicklanebowl.com

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE