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Penn State to face No. 21 Arkansas in Outback Bowl

After a disappointing season in 2020 and not making a bowl game, the Nittany Lions will be playing in a bowl game in 2021.

Penn State (7-5) will face No. 21 Arkansas (8-4) at Raymond James Stadium in the Outback Bowl on Sat., Jan. 1 at noon.

The game will be broadcast on ESPN2.

The trip is Penn State’s 51st all-time bowl appearance, and the Nittany Lions are tied fifth nationally with 30 bowl victories and No. 7 in bowl winning percentage at 62% (30-18-2) among schools with at least 20 bowl appearances.

“We are excited for our upcoming trip to Tampa Bay and to have the opportunity to represent Penn State in the Outback Bowl,” Penn State coach James Franklin said in a statement. “I am thrilled for our guys to have one more month together as a family to prepare for Arkansas. Tampa Bay is a great destination for our loyal fan base, and we know they will be there in full force to help send this special group of seniors off on a high note. Thank you to the Outback Bowl Committee for this opportunity.”

This marks Penn State’s first meeting with the Razorbacks. Penn State is 24-23 all-time against current SEC schools, having played 11 of the league’s 14 teams.

Keyvone Lee leads the Nittany Lions with 495 rushing yards on 104 carries, and Noah Cain has 322 yards on 101 carries.

Sean Clifford this year has thrown for 2,912 yards and has 20 touchdowns to just six interceptions.

Arkansas closed out the season 4-1 after a string of three consecutive losses in early October to Georgia, Ole Miss and Auburn. Since then, Arkansas beat UA Pine Bluff (45-3), Mississippi State (31-28), LSU (16-13 in overtime) and Missouri (34-17). The Razorbacks lost to Alabama during that stretch, 42-35.

K.J. Jefferson is having a stellar season for the Razorbacks as he has 3,132 yards of total offense, throwing for 2,578 yards and rushing for 554 — second on the team behind only running back Trelon Smith’s 592 yards. Jefferson also has 21 touchdowns and has thrown just three interceptions.

This will mark Penn State’s fifth Outback Bowl. The Nittany Lions defeated Auburn, 43-14, on Jan. 1, 1996; defeated Kentucky, 26-14, on Jan. 1, 1999; and defeated Tennessee, 20-10, on Jan. 1, 2007.

Penn State lost the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1, 2011 to Florida, 37-24.

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