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No. 11 Michigan State to face Pickett, No. 11 Pitt in Peach

December 6, 2021 GMT
Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne, right, and running back Kenneth Walker III celebrate following a 30-27 win over Penn State in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
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Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne, right, and running back Kenneth Walker III celebrate following a 30-27 win over Penn State in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)
1 of 4
Michigan State quarterback Payton Thorne, right, and running back Kenneth Walker III celebrate following a 30-27 win over Penn State in an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021, in East Lansing, Mich. (AP Photo/Al Goldis)

ATLANTA (AP) — No. 13 Pittsburgh (11-2, Atlantic Coast Conference) vs. No. 11 Michigan State (10-2, Big Ten), Dec. 30, 7 p.m. ET

LOCATION: Atlanta

TOP PLAYERS

Pittsburgh: QB Kenny Pickett, 334-497 passing for 4,319 yards, 42 touchdowns, seven interceptions; 241 yards rushing, five touchdowns.

Michigan State: RB Kenneth Walker, 263 carries for 1,636 yards, 18 touchdowns; 13 catches for 89 yards, one touchdown.

NOTABLE

Pitt: Pat Narduzzi spent eight years as Michigan State’s defensive coordinator before he was named Pitt’s coach in December, 2014. The Panthers took a 45-21 win over Wake Forest on Saturday night to win their first ACC championship.

Michigan State: The Spartans have enjoyed their biggest turnaround in school history under second-year coach Mel Tucker following a 2-5 finish in the 2020 pandemic-shortened season. Michigan State closed its regular season by beating Penn State 30-27 on Nov. 27.

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LAST TIME

Michigan State leads the all-time series with Pitt 6-0-1. The teams last met on Sept. 15, 2007, when the Spartans took a 17-13 win.

BOWL HISTORY

Pitt: The Panthers have a 14-21 bowl record, most recently including a 34-30 win over Eastern Michigan in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26, 2019. Pitt lost to Utah 35-7 in the Fiesta Bowl following the 2004 season in its last New Year’s Six game.

Michigan State: The Spartans are 13-16 in bowls, including a 27-21 win over Wake Forest in the Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 27, 2019.

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