Outback Bowl Predictions!

Matchup: Penn State Nittany Lions (7-5) vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (8-4)

Where: Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Florida

When: Saturday, January 1, 2022 @ 12 PM

TV: ESPN2

Happy New Year! 2022 brings everyone new opportunities and challenges. It also brings us the Outback Bowl where Penn State (7-5) takes on Arkansas (8-4). It should be an interesting game for the Lions as many of their key players from 2021 including WR Jahan Dotson and DB Jaquan Brisker will be sitting out in preparation for the 2022 NFL Draft.

With that being said, let’s get to the predictions.

Brandon Musso (8-4)

Just like that we are writing our final previews for the season. Things definitely didn’t go as we or Penn State planned this season but the Outback Bowl is still a nice consolation.

After the effort we saw vs Michigan State to close the regular season I don’t really expect much out of Penn State in the Outback Bowl. With quite a few opt outs, especially on the defense side, this game will be an uphill battle. They will face a tough task limiting the Arkansas offense especially without defensive coordinator Brent Pry.

As is has been for much of the season, the offense starts and stops with Sean Clifford. It’s been about a month since the team last played so it’s a pretty good bet Clifford is at or close to 100% healthy. He will need to play a perfect game without the sure handed Jahan Dotson at his disposal. If he can make use of all his other weapons then they could be in a good position to keep up with their short handed defense.

With that being said, I still have no faith in this team to take down the 25th ranked Razorbacks. The cards are stacked in the Razorbacks favor and I don’t feel like we have seen a Penn State team that can overcome bad odds like that.

Penn State 21
Arkansas 31

Kraigen Rasalla (7-5)

Sure the Lions are missing a lot of key pieces. But, I am very excited to watch the pieces that are still there today. I feel this way because it creates new opportunities for guys to step up and fill the voids that were created.

One of those players is WR Parker Washington. He’s been an important player for this team the last two years. But, with Dotson out, Washington becomes the focal point in the passing game. And, with Penn State struggling to run the ball in all of 2021, I think Penn State continues to rely on their playmakers on the outside to make plays. Look for Washington to have 10+ catches including some highlight reel level plays.

I’m also expecting Penn State to open up the playbook, big time. Sure, they are missing a lot of weapons on both offense and defense. But, this is a great chance for the team to throw in some trick plays like reverses and flea flickers. I wouldn’t mind seeing a crazy punt return play like the one that occurred in the Cardinals-Colts game a few weeks back.

I have no expectations for this game. Penn State is missing their best guys but I am glad to see the team is having fun in Tampa and enjoying the bowl experience. I am just hoping to enjoy the game on Saturday, as well. So I’ll predict a Penn State win because like the team enjoying the bowl experience, I enjoy thinking my team is going to win heading into the game.

Penn State 26

Arkansas 24

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