Jacksonville Sports Day

Outback Bowl: Arkansas Razorbacks Notebook

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The Arkansas Razorbacks will head to Florida for a bowl game for the first time since 2007 when the Hogs take on Penn State in the Outback Bowl.

Under second-year head coach Sam Pittman, the Razorbacks won eight games during the regular season – the most regular season wins for the program since 2011. The Hogs’ four non-conference wins marked the first time to go undefeated outside of league play since 2016 while the team’s 4-4 mark in Southeastern Conference action were the most league wins since 2015.

Arkansas’ third place finish in the SEC West is also the best for the Razorbacks since 2015. The Hogs scored wins over four teams headed to bowl games in the postseason and are one of a record 13 SEC schools in the postseason.

When the Razorbacks take the field inside Raymond James Stadium – home of the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers – in Tampa, Fla. it will mark the first time since the Belk Bowl on Dec. 29, 2016 Arkansas has played in a bowl game.

The Hogs will be playing in their first New Year’s Day game since the 2008 Cotton Bowl. Pittman led Arkansas to a bowl berth last year during the COVID-19 pandemic before the team’s Texas Bowl matchup with TCU was canceled due to COVID issues within the Horned Frogs program.

The Razorbacks and Penn State will meet for the first time ever on the gridiron. The Nittany Lions finished 7-5, including a 4-5 mark in Big Ten play.

Despite having never played against Penn State, Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin is familiar with the SEC having coached at Vanderbilt 2011-13. Arkansas beat Franklin’s Commodores 31-28 in Nashville in the lone meeting between the Razorbacks and Franklin. Offensively, Penn State is led by WR Jahan Dotson who caught 91 passes for 1,182 and 12 TDs. QB Sean Clifford passed for 2,912 yards and 20 touchdowns despite battling injuries throughout the season. On the defensive side of the ball, LB Ellis Brooks recorded 100 tackles to pace the squad and DE Arnold Ebiketie posted a team-best 9.5 sacks.

Here’s a look at the game by the numbers.

0 — Arkansas has never beaten a Big Ten team in a bowl game in four tries. They have lost to Michigan (45-31 in 1999 Citrus Bowl), Wisconsin (17-14 in 2007 Capital One Bowl), Minnesota (29-14 in 2002 Gaylord Hotels Music City Bowl) and Ohio State (31-26 to Ohio State in the 2011 Music City Bowl)

2– Arkansas’ rushing attack is ranked second in the SEC and No. 13 in the nation averaging 217.3 yards per game.

15 — Number of bowl games the Hogs have won in their history against 24 losses and three ties.

19 — Number of field goals made by Cam Little in 23 attempts. He has been perfect on all 43 point after attempts.

21 — Number of receptions for senior wide receiver Tyson Morris to lead the Razorbacks. They have gone for 305 yards and a pair of touchdowns.

21 — Where Arkansas is ranked in the College Football Playoff Poll. They are No. 22 in the AP and 24 in the coaches poll.

27 — Consecutive starts by Myron Cunningham to lead the Razorbacks.

90 — The Razorbacks returned 90 percent of their offensive line starts from last season, third most in the SEC.

120 — Bumper Pool’s tackle total to lead the team.

170 — Number of passes KJ Jefferson has thrown without an interception. That is the second-longest streak in Arkansas’ history.

450 — Arkansas is one of two FBS teams to have four players rush for 450+ yards. Trelon Smith (592), KJ Jefferson (554), Rocket Sanders (499) and Dominique Johnson (498).

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