No. 10 MSU to face off against No. 12 Pittsburgh in Peach Bowl on Dec. 30


MSU head coach Mel Tucker celebrates after the Spartans’ 30-27 win over Penn State on Nov. 27, 2021/Photo Credit: Sarah Smith/WDBM

Matt Merrifield, General Assignment Reporter

EAST LANSING, Mich– After finishing the 2021 regular season with an impressive 10-2 record, including a 7-2 Big Ten mark, the No. 10 Michigan State Spartans have earned a spot in the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl against the ACC Champion No. 12 Pittsburgh Panthers on Dec. 30th in Atlanta, Georgia. 

This is the third time Michigan State has played in a New Year’s Six bowl game and its first appearance since the 2015 Cotton Bowl. This will also be the first time in program history that the Spartans will appear in the Peach Bowl.

At No. 10, the Spartans received the final at-large bid for a New Year’s Six Bowl, just ahead of BYU, Oregon and Iowa.

Michigan State leads the all time series against the Panthers 6-1. This will also be MSU’s first time playing Pittsburgh since former Michigan State defensive coordinator Pat Narduzzi took the head coaching job at Pittsburgh in 2015. He was the defensive coordinator under former head coach Mark Dantonio from 2007-14.

MSU head coach Mel Tucker talks with former head coach Mark Dantonio before practice/ Photo Credit: MSU Athletic Communications

The last time these two teams played was in 2007, a game the Spartans and Dantonio won 17-14 over former Pittsburgh head coach Dave Wannstedt.

The Panthers are coming off their first conference championship since 2010 (as members of the Big East conference) after beating Wake Forest Saturday night 45-21. It was the first ACC conference title ever for Pittsburgh and their third conference title in any conference ever.

The matchup featured two Heisman hopefuls in Michigan State running back Kenneth Walker and Pittsburgh quarterback Kenny Pickett. Walker has been the workhorse for Michigan State all season and is currently second in the nation in rushing yards with over 1,636 yards and 18 rushing scores. 

Pickett has been elite for the Panthers this season, throwing for 4,319 yards and 42 touchdowns to only seven interceptions. Pickett’s 42 passing scores are the third-best mark in Division I and his QBR of 81.5 is the seventh-best mark in the country, according to ESPN.