Nittany Lions meet Razorbacks in Outback Bowl on January 1 at noon on ESPN2
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State takes on No. 22/24/21 Arkansas in the Outback Bowl. Kickoff is scheduled for noon on January 1 with a broadcast on ESPN2. The 2021 season is presented by PSECU.
SERIES HISTORY: The Nittany Lions will meet Arkansas for the first time in program history. Penn State holds a 24-23 record against current members of the SEC, including a 28-20 win over Auburn on September 18. Of the 47 matchups, 20 have come in bowl games, including the 2019 Citrus Bowl against Kentucky. Penn State is 11-16 in regular season contests against the SEC.
STOUT GARNERS BIG TEN PUNTER OF THE YEAR: Penn State redshirt senior Jordan Stout was tabbed as the Big Ten’s Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year. The Ray Guy Award finalist owns Penn State’s best career punt average (44.81) and season punt average (46.55). He hit 25 punts of 50+ yards and averaged at least 50.0 yards per punt in five games. He landed 34 punts inside the 20, including 18 inside the 10 and six inside the 5. According to PFF, Stout leads the country in punting grade (93.1) and average hang time (4.36), while ranking second in net punting (45.08).
FOUR EARN FIRST-TEAM ALL-BIG TEN HONORS: Stout was one of four Nittany Lions who earned first-team All-Big Ten accolades. Jaquan Brisker was a first team selection by the coaches and media after collecting 64 tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions. His 5.5 tackles for loss rank fourth among Big Ten defensive backs. Arnold Ebiketie was also a first team honoree by the coaches and media, posting 62 tackles, 17.0 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks. His 17.0 tackles for loss lead the Big Ten and rank second among Power Five defensive linemen. Jahan Dotson was selected first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches. Dotson is the only Power Five receiver with at least 90 receptions, 1,180 receiving yards and 12 receiving touchdowns through their first 12 games of the season.
THE OPPOSITION: Arkansas is 8-4 overall and 4-4 in SEC play this season. The Razorbacks earned a 34-17 win over Missouri in their regular season finale. KJ Jefferson completed 15-of-19 passes for 262 yards and a touchdown. Treylon Burks hauled in seven receptions for 129 yards and a score, while Trelon Smith found the end zone on a 4-yard run. Arkansas allowed 316 total yards, holding Missouri to 70 passing yards. Bumper Pool led the defense with 13 tackles and Montaric Brown had an interception.
SCOUTING THE RAZORBACKS
- Arkansas is 8-4 this season, including a 4-4 mark in SEC play.
- The Razorbacks’ wins include No. 15 Texas (40-21), No. 7 Texas A&M (20-10) and No. 17 Mississippi State (31-28).
- Sam Pittman is in his second season leading Arkansas.
- Pittman was named the AFCA Region 2 Coach of the Year in 2021.
- The Razorbacks are 11-11 under Pittman.
- Arkansas is averaging 31.5 points per game (44th nationally), 440.9 total yards (30th), 223.6 passing yards (73rd) and 217.3 rushing yards (13th).
- QB K.J. Jefferson has completed 67 percent of his passes for 2,578 yards, 21 touchdowns and only three interceptions.
- Jefferson has rushed for 554 yards and five touchdowns.
- WR Treylon Burks has 66 receptions for 1,104 yards and 11 touchdowns. He ranks 11th in the nation in receiving touchdowns, 25th in receiving yards and 22nd in receiving yards per game (92.0).
- Arkansas is allowing 24.0 points per game (46th nationally), 371.4 total yards (58th), 215.5 passing yards (44th) and 155.9 rushing yards (73rd).
- LB Bumper Pool paces the Razorbacks with 120 tackles and has 7.5 tackles for loss.
- Fellow LB Grant Morgan, the Burlsworth Trophy winner, has recorded 96 tackles, with seven tackles for loss, and an interception.
- LB Hayden Henry leads Arkansas with 10.5 tackles for loss and three sacks to go with 94 tackles.
- DB Montaric Brown has an SEC-high five interceptions, good for second in the country, and five pass breakups.
- K Cam Little sits 14th in the country with 1.58 field goals per game and 24th with an 82.6 field-goal percentage.
PENN STATE EARNS 51st BOWL BERTH
- Penn State is making its 51st bowl appearance, ranking 10th all-time.
- Head Coach James Franklin has guided his teams to a bowl appearance 10 times (3 at Vanderbilt; 7 at Penn State).
- Penn State’s 30 bowl victories are tied fifth nationally and lead all Big Ten schools.
- The Nittany Lions’ 62.0 winning percentage in bowl games (30-18-2 record) is No. 6 nationally among teams with at least 20 bowl appearances.
- Penn State made its first postseason appearance in 1923 when it traveled across the country to face USC in the Rose Bowl Game to cap off the 1922 season.
ANOTHER NEW YEAR’S DAY BOWL
- Penn State is playing in its 26th New Year’s Day Bowl.
- The Nittany Lions are 14-10-1 when playing on New Year’s Day.
- Penn State last played on New Year’s Day in the Citrus Bowl to finish the 2018 season, falling 27-24 against Kentucky.
- The blue and white’s last win on New Year’s Day came in the 2010 Capital One Bowl vs. LSU (19-17).
PENN STATE IN THE OUTBACK BOWL
- The Nittany Lions are playing in the Outback Bowl for the fifth time.
- Penn State made its first appearance in the Outback Bowl in the bowl’s inaugural game in 1996, defeating Auburn, 43-14.
- The Nittany Lions’ second Outback Bowl appearance came in 1999 when they earned a 26-14 win over Kentucky.
- Penn State defeated Tennessee, 20-0, in the 2007 Outback Bowl.
- In its last appearance in Raymond James Stadium, Penn State dropped a 37-24 decision against Florida.
NITTANY LIONS IN FLORIDA BOWLS
- Penn State is playing in a bowl game in Florida for the 23rd time in program history.
- The Nittany Lions are 10-11-1 in the previous 22 appearances.
- Penn State has played in the Blockbuster Bowl (0-2), Citrus/Capital One Bowl (2-4), Gator Bowl (1-3-1), Orange Bowl (4-1) and Outback Bowl (3-1).
STOUT TABBED TOP B1G PUNTER
- Redshirt senior Jordan Stout was named the Big Ten Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year.
- He is first Penn State player to win the Eddleman-Fields Punter of the Year award.
- Stout became Penn State’s 36th conference major award winner and the 10th in the James Franklin era.
- According to PFF, Stout owns the country’s highest punting grade (93.1) and average hang time (4.36) and is second in net punting (45.08).
- Stout owns Penn State’s best career punt average (44.81), leading by 1.68 yards per punt, and holds Penn State’s best season punt average (46.55).
- Stout has averaged at least 50.0 yards per punt in five games this season and has 25 punts of 50+ yards.
- He’s also landed 34 punts inside the 20 this season, including 18 inside the 10 and six inside the 5.
- Penn State earned 18 All-Big Ten selections across offense, defense and special teams.
- On offense, WR Jahan Dotson was a first team selection by the media and a second team honoree by the coaches.
- OL Rasheed Walker collected third team honors by the media and was an honorable mention selection by the coaches.
- QB Sean Clifford (coaches, media), OL Juice Scruggs (media, coaches), OL Mike Miranda (media) and TE Brenton Strange (media) all were named All-Big Ten honorable mention.
- On defense, S Jaquan Brisker and DE Arnold Ebiketie were selected first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media.
- LB Ellis Brooks and DT PJ Mustipher were both named second-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and honorable mention by the media.
- S Ji’Ayir Brown, CB Joey Porter Jr. and LB Brandon Smith were each tabbed All-Big Ten third team by the coaches and honorable mention by the media, while DE Jesse Luketa was selected third team by the media and honorable mention by the coaches.
- CB Tariq Castro-Fields (coaches, media) and LB Curtis Jacobs (media) also earned honorable mention accolades.
- Jordan Stout was selected first-team All-Big Ten by the coaches and media as a punter and honorable mention by the media as a kicker. Dotson was named honorable mention by the media as a return specialist.
- Multiple Nittany Lions have earned postseason All-America honors.
- S Jaquan Brisker has earned first-team All-America accolades from CBS Sports, On3 and Pro Football Focus, and second-team honors from the AFCA, Associated Press, FWAA, Phil Steele, Sporting News, The Athletic and USA Today. He was also a Reese’s Senior Bowl All-American.
- WR Jahan Dotson is a third-team AP and Phil Steele All-American and a Reese’s Senior Bowl All-American.
- DE Arnold Ebiketie is a second-team All-America selection by the FWAA, Phil Steele and The Athletic as well as a Reese’s Senior Bowl All-American.
- P Jordan Stout has been named a second-team All-American by the AFCA, CBS Sports, The Athletic and USA Today. He is a third-team selection by the Associated Press and Phil Steele and is a Reese’s Senior Bowl All-American.
COURTESY PENN STATE ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS