The Pittsburgh Panthers and Michigan State Spartans both defied expectations to put together two of the strongest seasons during the 2021 college football season. Now, the two programs will meet in the Peach Bowl, though the players chiefly responsible for those impressive campaigns will not take part.
With the ACC open for the first time in several years, Pitt took full advantage in 2021, finishing with an 11-2 record and a conference championship. Quarterback Kenny Pickett broke out for his finest season, throwing for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns, and just seven interceptions. That effort landed Pickett in New York for the Heisman Trophy ceremony, finishing third behind Michigan pass rusher Aidan Hutchinson and the award’s winner, Alabama quarterback Bryce Young.
Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker III, a transfer from Wake Forest, also collected some Heisman votes, finishing third in the final tally. Walker carried the Spartans with 1,735 yards from scrimmage and 19 total touchdowns. Walker’s five-score performance against in-state rival Michigan secured his legacy in East Lansing.
Both Pickett and Walker have declared for the 2022 NFL Draft, however, removing each team’s most important player from the Peach Bowl. Accordingly, Pittsburgh will have to rely on its top-shelf defense while Michigan State will put more of the onus on signal-caller Payton Throne.
Live stream info, start time
You can watch Pitt versus Michigan State in the Peach Bowl on Thursday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN. You can stream it via WatchESPN or the ESPN app with a cable or streaming service login.
Odds: Point Spread, Totals, Moneyline
Point spread: Michigan State -3
Point total: 55.5
Moneyline: Michigan State -140, Pitt +120
Peach Bowl Betting splits
Pitt: (20% of handle, 27% percent of bets)
Michigan State: (80% of handle, 73% percent of bets)
Pick: Under 55.5
While bowl season historically produces more high-scoring affairs than defensive tugs-of-war, both teams lost their most important offensive player and have had to manage around the ongoing COVID-19 surge. With Nick Patti taking the reins for Pitt and some combination of Jordan Simmons and Elijah Collins filling in for Walker, points shouldn’t come so easily.
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