Penn State vs Arkansas Prediction, Outback Bowl Prediction, Game Preview

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Penn State vs Arkansas: Outback Bowl prediction, game preview, how to watch

Penn State vs Arkansas: Outback Bowl How To Watch

Date: Saturday, December
Game Time: 12:00 ET
Venue: Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, FL
How To Watch: ESPN, Live stream on ESPN+
Record: Arkansas (8-4), Penn State (7-5)
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Penn State vs Arkansas Outback Bowl Preview

Penn State just got a whole lot of love with the prime New Year’s Day bowl slot. It was a good team that stumbled as the season went on, losing five of its last seven games with the lone wins coming over Maryland and Rutgers.

There were early close wins over Wisconsin and Auburn, but injuries, offensive inconsistencies, and too many close losses – four of those final five were by four points or fewer – but this could be a launching point with a strong team returning for 2022.

Arkansas hasn’t ben bowling since losing the 2016 Belk to Virginia Tech with a program that’s starting to take shape under Sam Pittman as a dangerous problem for the SEC West for years to come.

It’s built on the lines, a tough running game, and by making teams bend to its style. There are plenty of problems and weaknesses, but it’s an efficient team that won four of its last five games, with the only loss coming to Alabama in a 42-35 fight.

Penn State is taking the bigger personnel hit. Star WR Jahan Dotson has opted out – he’s a first round caliber prospect – to go along with DE Arnold Ebiketie, all-star S Jaquan Brisker and losing the 1-2 tackling linebacking tandem Brandon Smith and Ellis Brooks hurts. Throw in the departure of defensive coordinator Brent Pry for the Virginia Tech head coaching gig, and there’s a whole lot missing.

Arkansas isn’t immune from the opt outs. Top WR Treylon Burks is out, and defensive end Tre Williams won’t be a part of the fun, but it has a far better situation than Penn State is dealing with.

Why Arkansas, Penn State Will Win
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Outback Bowl Top Players To Know

NEXT: Why Arkansas Will Win, Why Penn State Will Win, Outback Bowl Prediction

Why Penn State Will Win The Outback Bowl

The Penn State defensive front has to get into the backfield.

The D might be missing some of the star parts, but the line is still athletic and active for a defense that allows fewer than 17 points per game. This isn’t a defense that cranks up a slew of sacks, but it’s good enough and generating pressure to cause problems.

Penn State has a wee bit of a penalty issue, but Arkansas has a massive one – the Nittany Lions should be up at least 30 total yards with this – and that might be just enough to matter in what should be a tight game.

The Arkansas offensive front allows way too many plays in the backfield, which is why the attack is bad on third downs, which all feeds into an issue in the time of possession battle. Penn State wants to move in a hurry – if everything goes like it’s supposed to – but Arkansas only holds the ball for around 28 minutes a game.

However …

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Why Arkansas Will Win The Outback Bowl

Arkansas makes it all work.

Yes, there are too many penalties, and yes, the offense isn’t consistent and stalls a bit too often, but the problems are offset by an efficient passing attack that doesn’t turn the ball over and hits a whole lot of big things down the field.

Not having Treylon Burks hurts, but there are other big, dangerous parts to the attack that should be able to press a good Penn State secondary that will deeply miss Jaquan Brisker at one safety spot.

That’s where KJ Jefferson comes in.

The 6-3, 245-pound sophomore quarterback can run – 554 yards and five touchdowns – and he’s got the arm to hit the deep shot. Most importantly for this attack and the team’s style, he doesn’t make mistakes. He’s got a quiet style without a lot of movement in his feet as he sets up. He’s strong enough to let the play develop, and then he brings the zip hitting 67% of his throws with 21 touchdown passes and just three picks.

As long as Jefferson and the offense can hit a few home runs, that might be enough for a Hog defense that should be able to hold down a Penn State offense that won’t run enough to matter.

Penn State vs Arkansas Preview
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NEXT: What’s Going To Happen, Penn State vs Arkansas Prediction, Outback Bowl History

Penn State vs Arkansas: Outback Bowl, What’s Going To Happen

Penn State is missing too much.

Arkansas will do okay on the ground, but even without Treylon Burks the passing game will be what takes over. Penn State’s secondary is still going to be solid, but it’ll give up just enough to matter.

The Nittany Lions will fight the good fight, and QB Sean Clifford will throw and keep throwing to apply the pressure, but again, there are just too many high-end personnel losses to overcome a team that should be able to balance out the offense and take over the game for a stretch.

Outback Bowl: Penn State vs Arkansas Prediction, Lines

Arkansas 30, Penn State 23
Line: Arkansas -1, o/u: 48
ATS Confidence out of 5: 3.5
Expert Picks: CFP & NY6 | Dec 28-Jan 4

Must See Rating: 4

5: New Year’s Eve in a bar
1: New Year’s Eve watching a ball drop

CFN Predictions | 2021-2022 Bowl Schedule

Outback Bowl History

Jan, 2, 2021 Ole Miss 26, Indiana 20
Jan. 1, 2020 Minnesota 31, Auburn 24
Jan. 1, 2019 Iowa 27, Mississippi State 22
Jan. 1, 2018 South Carolina 26, Michigan 19
Jan. 2, 2017 Florida 30, Iowa 3
Jan. 1, 2016 Tennessee 45 Northwestern 6
Jan. 1, 2015 Wisconsin 34 Auburn 31
Jan. 1, 2014 LSU 21 Iowa 14
Jan. 1, 2013 South Carolina 33 Michigan 28
Jan. 2, 2012 Michigan State 33 Georgia 30 (3 OT)
Jan. 1, 2011 Florida 37 Penn State 24
Jan. 1, 2010 Auburn 38 Northwestern 35 (OT)
Jan. 1, 2009 Iowa 31 South Carolina 10
Jan. 1, 2008 Tennessee 21 Wisconsin 17
Jan. 1, 2007 Penn State 20 Tennessee 10
Jan. 2, 2006 Florida 31 Iowa 24
Jan. 1, 2005 Georgia 24 Wisconsin 21
Jan. 1, 2004 Iowa 37 Florida 17
Jan. 1, 2003 Michigan 38 Florida 30
Jan. 1, 2002 South Carolina 31 Ohio State 28
Jan. 1, 2001 South Carolina 24 Ohio State 7
Jan. 1, 2000 Georgia 28 Purdue 25
Jan. 1, 1999 Penn State 26 Kentucky 14
Jan. 1, 1998 Georgia 33 Wisconsin 6
Jan. 1, 1997 Alabama 17 Michigan 14
Jan. 1, 1996 Penn State 43 Auburn 14
Jan. 2, 1995 Wisconsin 34 Duke 20
Jan. 1, 1994 Michigan 42 N.C. State 7
Jan. 1, 1993 Tennessee 38 Boston College 23
Jan. 1, 1992 Syracuse 24 Ohio State 7
Jan. 1, 1991 Clemson 30 Illinois 0
Jan. 1, 1990 Auburn 31 Ohio State 14
Jan. 2, 1989 Syracuse 23 LSU 10
Jan. 2, 1988 Michigan 28 Alabama 24
Dec. 23, 1986 Boston College 27 Georgia 24

Penn State vs Arkansas Preview
Why Arkansas, Penn State Will Win
Outback Bowl Top Players To Know