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2019 Citrus Bowl Pick

College Football

2019 Citrus Bowl: Teams, Facts, and Pick

For all the Vitamin C.

The 2019 Citrus Bowl will be college football’s second game of the year, and perhaps a more offensively-guided one, but by how much, if at all?

No, it looks like defense will again, at least to some extent, dictate the outcome of this game. Those contenders are the Penn State Nittany Lions out of the Big Ten and the Kentucky Wildcats from the SEC.

If you want to know who we think wins this bowl game, you need to make it to the end. If you skip ahead too far, too fast, your mouse will deliver a series of shocks. Oh, it’s all perfectly legal.

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2019 Citrus Bowl: This Year’s Bowl Info

Tuesday, January 1, 2019, 1:00pm ET (10:00am PT)
Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Broadcast on ABC
$8,550,000 payout (Link: College Football Poll)
Penn State is a 6-point favorite

2019 Citrus Bowl: Penn State Nittany Lions

9-3 (6-3 Big Ten); 3rd in Big Ten East
Best Win: Iowa
Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 28th, Total Offense 46th, Rushing Offense 29th, 3rd Downs 75th, Time of Possession 117th, Turnover Margin 58th, Sacks Allowed 57th, Red Zone 6th
Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 20th, Total Defense 36th, Rushing Defense 71st, Opponent 3rd Downs 28th, Sacks Per Game 1st, TFL Per Game 4th, Interceptions 28th, Opponent Red Zone 4th
Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking 73rd, Punts Per Game 51st

2019 Citrus Bowl: Kentucky Wildcats

9-3 (5-3 SEC); 2nd in SEC East
Best Win: Florida
Offensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Offense 85th, Total Offense 101st, Rushing Offense 35th, 3rd Downs 50th, Time of Possession 44th, Turnover Margin 68th, Sacks Allowed 52nd, Red Zone 101st
Defensive Ranks (out of 130): Scoring Defense 8th, Total Defense 21st, Rushing Defense 50th, Opponent 3rd Downs 68th, Sacks Per Game 29th, TFL Per Game 49th, Interceptions 90th, Opponent Red Zone 17th
Special Teams Ranks (out of 130): Field Goal Kicking 127th, Punts Per Game 86th

2019 Citrus Bowl: Head-to-Head

Penn State and Kentucky have registered five previous meetings in college football history.

The all-time series is led by Penn State, 3-2. When they last met, Joe Paterno was coach in January 1999, and Penn State won the contest; this was the 1999 Outback Bowl. (Link: Winsipedia)

2019 Citrus Bowl: Pick

Kentucky and Penn State can both play defense; they have done it all year. In the Wildcats’ case, this is why they ended up 9-3 in their best season in a long time. Penn State also went 9-3 and probably hoped for more, but can still close out their 2018 season with a tenth win.

When Penn State is on offense, Trace McSorley will be man of the hour, but despite the praise he has received, a 53 percent completion percentage is not that impressive. This season was a step back from last year with his completions way down, though the Nittany Lions did not pass as much. Part of this is because McSorley was the second-leading rusher with 723 yards and 11 touchdowns. Miles Sanders added 1,223 yards of his own to the effort. What has made McSorley such a threat is that he can take off, and does at his leisure.

Benny Snell, Kentucky running back, has been one of the most crucial players for the Wildcats. He had six games over 100 yards on the ground, and Penn State boasts an average run defense. Snell might be able to so some damage, but the Nittany Lions are excellent at bending but not breaking. This is a top-five defense in their own red zone this season.

Penn State has for sure a better and more productive offense than the Wildcats. Even though defense is going to keep this from being a high-octane pace, the Nittany Lions have more playmakers to help them cash in on their opportunities.

Pick: Penn State

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