ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — COTTON BOWL: No. 15 Memphis (12-1, American) vs. No. 13 Penn State (10-2, Big Ten) in Arlington, Texas, Saturday at Noon EST (ESPN).
Line: Penn State by 7.
Series record: First meeting.
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Penn State plays in its 50th bowl game, and third New Year's Six game in four years. Coach James Franklin, finishing his sixth season, earlier this month got a new contract through 2022. American Athletic Conference champion Memphis, already with a school-record 12 wins and representing Group of Five teams in its first New Year's Six game, plays for the first time since Ryan Silverfield was promoted to head coach. Mike Norvell left to become Florida State's coach. The Tigers are in a bowl for a school-record sixth year in a row — they've lost the last four.
The Memphis offensive playmakers — quarterback Brady White, tailback Kenneth Gainwell and reciever Damonte Coxie — against Penn State defense. Memphis ranks in the top 10 nationally with 40.5 points and 480.7 total yards per game, along with 6.9 yards per play. The Nittany Lions are top 10 defensively allowing only 14.1 points and 4.67 yards per play. Penn State also has an FBS-best 20 forced fumbles.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Memphis: White has 3,560 yards passing with 33 touchdowns, including five 300-yard games and multiple touchdowns 10 times this season. The graduate transfer from Arizona State has played two seasons for the Tigers, and could still has one more season of eligibility remaining with the Tigers.
Penn State: All-America sophomore linebacker Micah Parsons had 10 tackles in each of the last two games. He has 95 tackles (45 solo, 50 assists) this season with 11 tackles for loss.
FACTS & FIGURES
Penn State is playing its sixth Top 25 opponent the last eight games, its most difficult stretch since the AP poll debuted in 1936. ... Memphis has won its last seven games. ... Penn State is 2-2 since an 8-0 start. ... Memphis went into the bowl season leading the nation with 32 plays of at least 40 yards, and 19 plays of at least 50 yards. WR Antonio Gibson has a national-leading seven plays of at least 50 yards. ... Tigers senior C Dustin Woodard's 51 consecutive games started is one short of the school record
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