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Penn State Headed to Dallas to Play Memphis in Cotton Bowl

Monday, December 9, 2019 @ 12:12 AM

Posted by Chris Rossetti

James Franklin Penn State Burdick
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Penn State returns to the Goodyear Cotton Bowl for the first time since 1975 when the Nittany Lions (10-2) take on American Athletic Conference (AAC) foe Memphis (121) at AT&T Stadium in Dallas on Saturday, Dec. 28 at noon (ET). The game will air on ESPN.

(Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

The No. 10 Nittany Lions and the No. 17 Memphis were selected today for their first meeting. The trip marks Penn State’s 50th all-time bowl appearance.

“We couldn’t be more excited to head to the Cotton Bowl and have one more game with this 2019 team,” Penn State Head Coach James Franklin said. “Our players, coaches and staff will enjoy this next month together as we proudly represent Penn State and the Big Ten Conference. We know the Penn State faithful will turn out and take over Dallas to send our seniors out on a high note for our final family reunion this season!”

“I’m excited for our football program to have the opportunity to play in this year’s Cotton Bowl,” stated Sandy Barbour, Penn State Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics. “This is a tremendous reward for all of the hard work our student-athletes, coaches and staff have put in this season. To play in a New Year’s Six bowl for the third time in four years is a great honor and an accomplishment only a small number of teams in the country can make. Under James Franklin, Penn State has re-established itself as one of the best and most consistent programs in the nation.

“I would also like to thank the Cotton Bowl committee and all the volunteers for their hospitality and work to make this bowl experience possible. We look forward to seeing our Penn State community gather for one final time in the 2019 season out in Dallas!”

Penn State is making its fourth Cotton Bowl appearance with the last coming in the 1974 season with a 41-20 win over Baylor. The Nittany Lions are 2-0-1 all-time in the Cotton Bowl. The Lions’ first Cotton Bowl appearance with a 13-13 tie against SMU in the 1948 game and also topped Texas, 30-6, in the 1972 contest.

This will be Penn State’s first meeting with the Tigers. The Nittany Lions are 77-24-4 all-time against current American Athletic Conference (AAC) schools, having played nine of the 12 teams in the league. The most recent meeting with an AAC team was against Temple in 2016, a 34-27 Penn State win.

The Nittany Lions vs. AAC teams overall: Cincinnati (8-1), East Carolina (2-0), Houston (2-1), Navy (19-17-2), SMU (1-0-1), Temple (40-4-1), Tulane (1-0), UCF (3-1), USF (1-0). Penn State has never faced Connecticut, Memphis or Tulsa.

The Nittany Lions are playing in a bowl game for the sixth consecutive year and third New Year’s Six bowl under Franklin. The Nittany Lions topped No. 11 Washington in the 2017 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl and faced USC in the 2017 Rose Bowl after winning the 2016 Big Ten Championship.

Penn State is tied for fourth nationally with 29 bowl victories and No. 6 in bowl winning percentage with a 29-18-2 post-season record (61.2) among schools with at least 20 postseason appearances.


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