NCAAF Peach Bowl: No. 11 Ole Miss vs. No. 10 Penn State

College football preview and predictions for the Peach Bowl, where #11 Mississippi takes on #10 Penn State.

It doesn’t figure in the battle to win the title, but Saturday afternoon’s Peach Bowl is quite intriguing. A pair of 10-2 teams in the No. 11 Mississippi Rebels (6-2 SEC) and 10th-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions (7-2 Big Ten) meet in Atlanta.

Peach Bowl  pick Ole Miss Penn  StateBoth the Lions (34.8 points per game) and Rebels (31.4 points/game) were solid, just unable to stay with elites in their respective conferences this season. Penn State lost to Michigan and Ohio State, while Ole Miss (going after its first 11-win season) was beaten by Alabama and Georgia. 

Penn State is a four-point favorite (total at 48.5), according to college football odds. Moneyline is Nittany Lions -170, Rebels at +148.

It’s the first-ever meeting between the programs. 

Rebels Play "Darts"

Junior quarterback Jaxson Dart (2,985 yards passing yards, 20 touchdowns, five interceptions) was among the best at his position in the SEC. He was adept at taking care of the ball (six touchdowns, one pick in his last four). 

Ole Miss Rebels free Peach Bowl pickThere’s a receiving triple threat in Tre Harris, Dayton white and Jordan Wadkns (more than 2,300 yards, 15 touchdowns). Quinshon Judkins (1,052 yards, 15 touchdowns) is the beast of the backfield.

There were defensive issues at times this season (having surrendered 52 points to Georgia, 49 to LSU), but the Rebels held Mississippi St. to just seven points in winning the Egg Bowl.

Lions No Strangers

Having ended the regular season with a pair of blowouts (combined 69-6 over Rutgers and Michigan St.), Penn St. is as bowl-tested (record of 31-19-2) as any program. 

Penn State Peach Bowl predictionWhile PSU feasted on some Big Ten bottom feeders (see above), do not sleep on the Lions.

Quarterback Drew Allar (2,336 passing yards, 23 touchdowns, one interceptions) does not make mistakes, especially when it comes to favorite target Keandre Lambert-Smith (53 receptions, 673 yards, four touchdowns). Tyler Warren and Theo Johnson had a combined 13 touchdowns catches this season. 

There’s Kaytron Allen and Nicholas Singleton in the backfield, the tandem with a combined 1,553 yards (14 touchdowns). 

Let’s not gloss over the nation’s stingiest defense (230.8 yards per game), which surrenders just 11.8 points/game (third in NCAA). The latter figure is about a touchdown less than what the Lions permitted last season.

Doing Some "Nitt-Picking"

There are plenty of alternative wagers on this game, as per Ole Miss vs. Penn State props.

As is the case in all bowl games, check opt-outs, transfer portals and coaching-staff changes. 

While the Ole Miss Rebels have some weapons on offense, they haven’t seen many defensive units as unyielding as that of the Nittany Lions. 

It’s unfortunate (if you’re PSU) that Big Ten speed bumps Michigan and Ohio State stood in the way, because this team is quite good. Expect PSU to take control of this game in the second half and ease past Mississippi.

Take the Nittany Lions -4 in the Peach Bowl, and a lean towards the over, too.

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