Peach Bowl: What to know about Ole Miss vs. Penn State

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The Ole Miss football team is heading to a New Year’s Six Bowl.

After weeks of speculation over where No. 11 Ole Miss would land, the College Football Playoff committee has determined that the Rebels will travel to Atlanta to face No. 10 Penn State in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.

For the second time in Lane Kiffin’s four seasons in Oxford, Ole Miss will be featured in one of the most prestigious postseason games in all of college football. The last time the Rebels were showcased in a New Year’s Six bowl was a 21-7 loss to Baylor in the Sugar Bowl on January 1, 2022.

Kiffin and company will now look to wipe the slate clean and post a win over a top-10 program in Penn State. Here’s what you need to know going into the game.

The two teams are very similar

Both programs posted identical records of 10-2 in their 2023 campaigns in arguably the two toughest conferences in the sport.

Ole Miss, for the second time in school history, amassed double-digit wins in the regular season with six of them coming against SEC opponents. Most notably, the Rebels recorded their lone top-25 win against No. 13 LSU in a 55-49 shootout.

Penn State, just like its upcoming opponent, won six conference games. The biggest win for the historic Big 10 group was a 31-0 blowout over No. 17 Iowa.

In the respective loss columns, neither team had any reason to hang their heads low. Among the four combined losses, two programs (Alabama and Michigan) that beat the Rebels and the Nittany Lions will be competing against one another for a shot at a national title.

The other two teams (Georgia and Ohio State) to oust Kiffin and James Franklin’s units are ranked in the top 10 and will also be squaring off in New Year’s Six bowl games.

Where the teams differ

Though the two programs appear to be mirror images of one another on paper, some key differences will be displayed on the field when they meet.

Ole Miss, which ranks No. 15 nationally in total offense, is known for its high-tempo style of play and scoring ability. The Rebels average roughly 455 yards per game and have used their explosive scheme to outscore opponents, whereas Penn State has a slower-paced offense and is primarily known for what it can do on the other side of the ball.

The Nittany Lions rank No. 1 in total defense, giving up only 223 yards per game. Franklin’s defense has only given up 16 total touchdowns on the year, which will be tested against an Ole Miss team that has reached the end zone 51 times in the past 12 games.

Notable players

Ole Miss offense:

  • Quarterback Jaxson Dart — 2,985 passing yards, 377 rushing yards, 27 total touchdowns, and five interceptions
  • Running back Quinshon Judkins — 1,052 rushing yards, 135 receiving yards, and 16 total touchdowns
  • Wide receiver Tre Harris — 856 receiving yards and eight touchdowns

Ole Miss defense:

  • Defensive tackle Jared Ivey — 41 tackles and 5.5 sacks
  • Linebacker Ashanti Cistrunk — 68 tackles, 2.5 sacks, and one interception
  • Safety Trey Washington — 75 tackles, three interceptions, and two passes deflected

Penn State offense

  • Quarterback Drew Allar  — 2,336 passing yards, 170 rushing yards, 27 total touchdowns, and one interception
  • Running back Kaytron Allen — 851 rushing yards, 81 receiving yards, and seven total touchdowns
  • Wide receiver KeAndre Lambert-Smith — 673 receiving yards and four total touchdowns

Penn State defense:

  • Defensive tackle Adisa Isaac — 35 tackles and 7.5 sacks
  • Linebacker Kobe King — 54 tackles and 1.5 sacks
  • Safety Jaylen Reed — 44 tackles, two interceptions, and one sack
How to watch

Location: Mercedes Benz Stadium (Atlanta, Ga.)

Date: Saturday, December 30

Time: 11 a.m. CT


Radio: Participating SuperTalk Mississippi stations

The other five New Year’s Six bowl matchups can be found below:

Cotton Bowl

Teams: No. 7 Ohio State vs. No. 9 Missouri

Location: AT&T Stadium (Dallas, Texas)

Date: Friday, December 29

Time: 7 p.m. CT


Orange Bowl

Teams: No. 5 Florida State vs. No. 6 Georgia

Location: Hard Rock Stadium (Miami, Fla.)

Date: Saturday, December 30

Time: 3 p.m. CT


Fiesta Bowl

Teams: No. 8 Oregon vs. No. 23 Liberty

Location: State Farm Stadium (Glendale, Ariz.)

Date: Monday, January 1

Time: 11 a.m. CT


Rose Bowl (playoff game)

Teams: No. 1 Michigan vs. No. 4 Alabama

Location: Rose Bowl Stadium (Pasadena, Calif.)

Date: Monday, January 1

Time: 4 p.m. CT


Sugar Bowl (playoff game)

Teams: No. 2 Washington vs. No. 3 Texas

Location: Caesar’s Super Dome (New Orleans, La.)

Date: Monday, January 1

Time: 7:45 p.m. CT


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