TAMPA (WTAJ) — Penn State and Arkansas will meet for the very first time in Saturday’s outback bowl.

Overall, Penn State has played 46 games against schools in the SEC.

A strange theme in this game is how much these two have in common. It starts with how the season played out: both teams were top 10 teams at one point and both had rough patches and three-game losing streaks in October.

Then there are the coaches: very different guys with a very common thread. Both coaches grew up dreaming of playing at the schools they coach now. Arkansas’ Sam Pittman grew up in Grove Oklahoma, just 50 miles from Fayetteville while Penn State’s James Franklin grew up outside of Philadelphia.

“I did go to camp. I think Jim Caldwell was the quarterbacks’ coach at the time,” Franklin said. “They had a drill, coach Pittman, where you threw fades, and they had a target sitting in the end zone and I won that drill. I thought for sure coach Caldwell would come over and tell me why I should come to Penn State and he never did. It’s obviously something, though, that you take a lot of pride in.”

Kickoff is slated for noon on Jan. 1, 2022.

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