The 2019 Goodyear Cotton Bowl, in Arlington, Texas, pits the American Athletic Conference against the Big Ten Conference this season. No. 15 Memphis Tigers will face the No. 13 Penn State Nittany Lions on Dec. 28 (Noon, ET, ESPN). Here is the 2019 Goodyear Cotton Bowl preview. Rankings from The Associated Press Top 25.
No. 15 Memphis Tigers (12-1)
Memphis won its first outright conference title in 50 years, and earned this New Year’s Six bowl berth. However, coach Mike Norvell will not be there to guide the Tigers in the 2019 Goodyear Cotton Bowl after taking the Florida State job.
Still, the Tigers have plenty of talent in quarterback Brady White (3,560 passing yards, 33 passing touchdowns, nine interceptions), running back Kenneth Gainwell (1,425 yards, 12 touchdowns) and all-purpose threat Antonio Gibson. While the offense averages 40.5 points, a defense that’s allowed 30 or more points four times must rise to the occasion.
Also, Memphis has lost four straight bowl games. While that might not matter much to anybody, it’s worth noting.
No. 13 Penn State Nittany Lions (10-2)
Penn State will make its first appearance in the Cotton Bowl since 1974, and takes on Memphis for the first time. The Nittany Lions flirted with a College Football Playoff bid in 2019, but losses at Minnesota and Ohio State by a combined 16 points ended that dream.
Still, they have a good chance to go out on a high note. Receiver KJ Hamler (54 receptions, 858 yards, eight touchdowns) is among the Big Ten’s top receivers. Meanwhile, Penn State boasted three running backs with at least 350 rushing yards and five touchdowns.
However, it’s the Penn State defense that could be in the spotlight at the house that Jery built. Linebacker Micah Parsons (85 tackles, 10 tackles for loss) is an All-American who leads a unit that allows 14.1 points per game and held the potent Buckeyes’ offense to 28.
Even if Mike Norvell is on the Memphis sideline, this task would still be huge for the Tigers. This is by far the best team they will face, and Penn State was a worthy contender for the College Football Playoff most of this season. The Nittany Lions should earn a relatively easy victory.
Penn State 38, Memphis 20
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