Coach: James Franklin
Penn State Players to watch:
**Sophomore TE Pat Freiermuth (6-5/262)
Freiermuth, a true sophomore, was determined to be eligible for the 2020 NFL Draft thanks to a postgraduate year he did in Massachusetts that makes him three years removed from high school. However, Freiermuth took to Twitter on Nov. 30 to announce his intention to return to State College for his junior season.
Freiermuth was an All-Big Ten second-team selection as named by the coaches and media. The sophomore finished the regular season with 468 receiving yards and 7 touchdowns on 41 receptions, finishing second on the team in all three receiving categories. He also routinely makes plays in the running game as a blocker.
Senior OG Steven Gonzalez (6-4/349)
Gonzalez started all 12 regular season games at left guard. He was named second-team All-Big Ten by coaches and media. Gonzalez helped the Penn State offense rank No. 23 in scoring offense (34.3), No. 29 in the FBS in passing yards per completion (13.32) and No. 28 in red zone offense (.894). He will participate in the East-West Shrine Game on January 18.
*Junior OT Will Fries (6-6/312)
Fries was named honorable-mention All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and media. He started all 12 games at right tackle. Fries helped lead the way for a Nittany Lion offense that threw for 24 touchdowns and registered three games with 500 or more yards of offense.
*Junior DE Shaka Toney (6-3/245)
Toney was named second-team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches and honorable mention choice by the media. He tied for seventh on the team with 39 tackles, including 8.0 tackles for loss. He also has five quarterback hurries, one fumble recovery and one blocked kick.
Senior LB Cam Brown (6-5/230)
Brown ranks third on the team with a career-high 69 tackles. He registered 5.5 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, three pass breakups, four quarterback hurries, two fumble recoveries and one forced fumble. He was named All-Big Ten third team by the coaches and honorable mention choice by the media.
Coach: Ryan Silverfield
Memphis Players to watch:
Senior WR/KR Antonio Gibson (6-2/220)
A dynamic player in multiple phases of the game, Gibson has etched his name into the Memphis record books this season. With 386 all-purpose yards against SMU, Gibson broke the AAC and school record for most all-purpose yards in a single game.
Leading into the AAC Championship Game, Gibson has scored in five straight games including rushing touchdowns in three of the last four games. He ranks eighth nationally averaging 20.83 yards per catch. He has averaged 20.1 yards per catch in his career, a total that is the second-highest average in program history.
Gibson has recorded a career-high 604 receiving yards with 10 total touchdowns. He has a long reception of 73 yards, a long rush of 78 yards and 1,398 all-purpose yards, the 12th most in a single-season in program history.
*Junior WR Demonte Coxie (6-3/200)
Coxie sits 21 yards shy of recording his second career 1,000-yard receiving season and would become only the second player in Memphis history (Anthony Miller) to record multiple 1,000-yard receiving seasons.
This season, Coxie has recorded a career-high nine receiving touchdowns. He continues to climb the Memphis record book as he is currently third all-time with 2,476 career receiving yards and tied for third all-time with 19 career touchdowns.
Senior OC Dustin Woodard (6-2/285)
This season was the first season at center for Woodard. Woodard has played in 751 of the team’s 823 total snaps including every snap in seven of Memphis’ 12 games. In addition to his work on the field, Woodard is a finalist for the Senior CLASS Award, was named CoSIDA Academic All-District and was a semifinalist for the William V. Campbell Trophy. He has been named all-conference twice in his career: second-team in 2019, after earning a first team all-conference nod in 2018.
*Junior PK Riley Patterson (5-11/180)
Patterson continues to climb the Memphis record books after a stellar junior campaign. With 319 career points to-date, Patterson became the fourth kicker in league history to eclipse 300 career points. This season, Patterson is 60-for-61 in PATs and 12-for-14 in field goals.
Patterson also ranks in the top 30 nationally with 61.4 percent of his kickoffs resulting in touchbacks. He is also fourth nationally with 5,616 total kickoff yards.
**rSophomore LS Preston Brady (6-0/215)
Brady is part of a University of Memphis special teams unit that has consistently ranked among the best in the nation all season. Has played in 13 games so far this season, seeing action primarily as the squad’s holder.
Brady was recently named the 2019 winner of the Mortell Award. The Peter Mortell Holder of the Year Award is an award given annually to the top holder in college football.
Cotton Bowl Classic
Penn State 53, Memphis 29
Dec 28, 2018 | Noon | ESPN
2018 CFP Semifinal at the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
No. 2 Clemson 30, No. 3 Notre Dame 3