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Penn State Football: Nittany Lions to Face No. 17 Memphis in Cotton Bowl

by on December 08, 2019 3:40 PM

Penn State football will face No. 17 Memphis in the Cotton Bowl on Dec. 28 in Dallas, Texas. The 10th-ranked Nittany Lions were narrowly edged out by Wisconsin for a place in the Rose Bowl despite the Badgers' 34-21 loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten title game on Saturday night.

Memphis enters the game tied for its highest ever ranking in the AP Poll at No. 15 and at 12-1 on the year with back-to-back wins over Cincinnati to win the American Conference. The Tigers' lone loss came to Temple in October. Memphis also has a wins over Ole Miss and now 10-2 SMU.

For Penn State, a Cotton Bowl berth is the third New Years Six bowl game appearance under James Franklin, having previously made the Rose Bowl following the 2016 season and the Fiesta Bowl following the 2017 campaign. The Nittany Lions fell in the Rose Bowl to USC but beat Washington the following year.

“We couldn’t be more excited to head to the Cotton Bowl and have one more game with this 2019 team,” Franklin said in a statement. “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."

Memphis finds itself in a transition period following the departure of coach Mike Norvell, who was announced as Florida State's new head coach on Sunday. Offensive line coach Ryan Silverfield has been named the interim head coach for the immediate future.

Penn State has made the Cotton Bowl on three previous occasions, last in 1975 when the Nittany Lions beat Baylor 41-20 and previously having taken down Texas in 1972. Penn State's first Cotton Bowl appearance came in 1948 against SMU, the second bowl game the program ever played in. While the game itself was not the Cotton Bowl, Penn State did face Houston in the TicketCity Bowl in 2012 at the Cotton Bowl stadium.

The latest iteration of the Cotton Bowl is played at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, home of the Dallas Cowboys. Kick is set for 11 a.m. local time, noon EST.

Ben Jones covers Penn State football and basketball for He's on Twitter as @Ben_Jones88.
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