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The National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Peach Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia, hosts No. 10 Michigan State University Spartans (10-2) and No. 12 Pittsburgh (Pitts) Panthers (11-2). The Peach Bowl is one of four college football games scheduled for Dec. 30, 2021.
MSU arrived in Georgia earlier this week. First, the Spartans began practicing for their matchup at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium game against the Pitts. After their second practice, head coach Mel Tucker talked about the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl game preparations and how much fun the team is having in Atlanta. “Our guys seem to be really focused. We know why we are here, but we’re also going to enjoy everything that the Peach Bowl has for us.”
Both Pittsburgh and MSU will be without their leading men. Spartans running back Kenneth Walker III and Panthers quarterback Kenny Pickett have opted out of the 2021 Peach Bowl at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Pitt’s backup quarterback Nick Patti will have the opportunity to have his first extended look starting since he was a freshman in 2019.
Since the Spartans have the worst-ranked passing defense in the NCAA Division 1 Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS), and the Panthers have “an extremely talented cast of supporting players,” there is a good chance they will win their first New Year 6 (NY6) bowl since the Sugar Bowl game in 1982 with quarterback Dan Marino.
The Mercedes-Benz Stadium seats up to 71,000 during football games. Last year’s Peach Bowl attendance set a record for the stadium, 78,347.
Weather permitting, organizers plan to the stadium open the roof, which will allow fresh air to flow through the seating bowl, concourses, and suites with the doors open, which will let guests decide whether or not to wear a mask. However, it is best to be prepared since the weather does not look as though the roof will be open. In that case, masks will be required when not actively eating or drinking.
Visitors are assured the Mercedes-Benz Stadium personnel will be wearing masks, and the facility’s cleanliness protocols are enhanced. Moreover, guests are further protected with contactless concessions with mobile ordering and payment.
Earlier reports indicated that while wearing a mask is highly recommended when the roof is open, attendees will not be required to wear one in open-air areas of the venue. However, a mask is required in enclosed areas, including club spaces, press boxes, retail stores, and other enclosed rooms.
The COVID-19 surge in Fulton County, like the rest of the country, is a significant concern. With 2,714 cases reported in the county reported yesterday, health officials warn everyone, even fully vaccinated and boosted, should wear masks and practice the safety protocols set by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC).
College football fans will be treated to North Carolina versus South Caroling in Duke’s Mayo Bowl in Charlotte at 11:30 a.m. EST, Tennessee against Purdue in the Music City Bowl in Nashville at 3 p.m., the Peach Bowl at 7 p.m., and Wisconsin versus Arizona State in the Las Vegas Bowl in Nevada at 10:30 p.m. These games will be aired on ESPN.
Written by Cathy Milne-Ware
NCAA: 2021-22 college football bowl game schedule, scores, TV channels, matchup information
WILX 10: MSU preps for Peach Bowl down south; by Krystle Holleman
WILX 10: Spartans gear up for their first trip to Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl; by Alynne Welch
Pittsburgh Sports Now: Pitt’s Last BCS Bowl Appearance Didn’t Go Well, but Peach Bowl Should be Better; by Karl Ludwig
CBS News: Roof of Mercedes-Benz Stadium to be open for Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl game, no masks; by Joyce Lupiani
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