On Saturday afternoon the Penn State Nittany Lions finished off their 2019 season with a 53-39 victory over the Memphis Tigers in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. With the win, the Nittany Lions capped off their third 11 win season in four years. It was also their second New Year’s Six victory in that four year stretch.
Leading the way for the Nittany Lion offense that scored a program bowl record 53 points was redshirt sophomore running back Journey Brown. On his way to being named the game’s offensive MVP Brown put together one of the best bowl performances in program history rushing for 202 yards and a pair of scores.
Journey Brown is a BADDD man— Kath (@kathmcgrady) December 28, 2019
Journey Brown. Sooooo good!— The Philadelphia Sports Table Podcast Show (@PhiladelphiaPST) December 28, 2019
Journey Brown just can’t be stopped. The man is fast #WeAre— Kevin Petrochko (@Kevin_Petrochko) December 28, 2019
The big game from Brown included a 32-yard touchdown run on his first carry of the game. On this run Brown ran over/stiff armed multiple Tiger defenders before turning on the jets and reaching the end zone.
Journey Brown just became a father of 8 sons pic.twitter.com/MHa2yoBZnf— Farmer Jones (@thefarmerjones) December 28, 2019
Journey. Brown. Get off me!— Teddy Bailey (@ByTeddyBailey) December 28, 2019
Journey Brown— Sage Lear (@SLear25) December 28, 2019
Journey Brown on that TD run pic.twitter.com/rgo0ND96c3— Peter Scalia (@TheRealScalia10) December 28, 2019
That 32 yard td run by journey brown is the most marshawn lynch like run I’ve seen all year— Noah Cantu (@spartynoah) December 28, 2019
4 broken tackles for (1) rushing journey brown touchdown- who just so happens to be #4— kellie♡ (@kcampp13) December 28, 2019
Brown averaged 12.6 yards per carry, pacing the way for a potent Nittany Lion rushing attack. The #LawnBoyz were out in full force on Saturday. Brown, Noah Cain, Ricky Slade, and Devyn Ford combined to rush for 368 yards. Other than Slade, who averaged 11.6 yard per carry, each of them found the end zone at least once.
All aboard the Noah Cain Train! pic.twitter.com/BkM7eaMfFR— Michael Drapcho ho ho ☃️ (@M_Drapcho21) December 28, 2019
OK Noah Cain putting the Capital Letter on the T for Touchdown!— Jim Cavaluchi (@PSUunrivaled) December 28, 2019
So glad to have Noah Cain back!— Derek Rambo (@311Rambo) December 28, 2019
RAISING noah CAIN— Tony North DaKota (@TonyNorthDaKota) December 28, 2019
Updated Lawn Boyz Touchdown Tracker:— Jake Starr (@jstarr1999) December 28, 2019
Journey Brown ✅✅
Noah Cain ✅✅
Devyn Ford ✅
Penn State has one of the most talented running back rooms in the country, and then finished their 2019 campaign with a great performance on Saturday.
For as fun as Penn State’s offense was to watch, the defense was that frustrating. The secondary, outside of John Reid who had an excellent game in coverage, struggled and the tackle was poor.
Tackling optional in Penn state Memphis game— B Hauter (@Hauter2) December 28, 2019
Penn State, please stop arm tackling— Nate Brodsky (@thenatebrodsky) December 28, 2019
Penn State should have spent the extra practice time hitting tackling dummies, apparently.— Keith Schweigert (@K_Schweigert) December 28, 2019
Tackling not too sound for Penn State early on. Looks like we might get a shootout.— Matt Bortner (@M_Bortner) December 28, 2019
Penn State might be the worst tackling team I've ever seen.— Damon Michael (@DMJ1404) December 28, 2019
Penn State’s tackling is atrocious right now— Jeremy Phillips (@CoachJPhil) December 28, 2019
Missed tackles, no secondary. Horrendous defense by #PennState, a trend that’s continued since the second half of the Michigan game.— Philly Sports Fanatic (@thunderducks26) December 28, 2019
Penn State doesn't have a secondary, they have a tertiary. Good grief. #CottonBowl— Jeremy Onyshczak (@jerkat429) December 28, 2019
My god the Penn State secondary is so bad sometimes. Like, horrendous.— Mike V.P. (@MikePettigano) December 28, 2019
as we saw, Penn State's secondary is perhaps their weakest unit by a country mile. don't be surprised if Memphis takes advantage of it all day and pulls away with a massive lead.— Negan Tekken boi (@domaug) December 28, 2019
While the defense struggled, to their credit, when they needed to make stops they did. A big part of Penn State’s victory was the defense holding Memphis to field goals on six occasions.
The defense took its lumps at times on Saturday, but that did not apply to linebacker Micah Parsons. On his way to earning Defensive MVP honors, Parsons had one of the best games I have ever seen from a defensive player.
#11 is special— Lamar Stevens (@LamarStevens11) December 28, 2019
Micah Parsons for 2020 Heisman.— Jonathan Mayer (@J_Mayer15) December 28, 2019
The Micah Parsons Game— Frosty the Shenot-man ☃️ (@JShenot) December 28, 2019
Micah Parsons is a straight BEAST!!! Salute #WEARE— Jimmy GRIZZ Kennedy (@Kennedy73) December 28, 2019
MICAH. PARSONS. 717 baby!— cade (@CadeBurdette_) December 28, 2019
Micah Parsons looking like Lavar.— Axel Stone (@JonathWhite) December 28, 2019
Micah Parsons is legit. Glad PSU has him for 1 more year. #PennState— BW ☠️ (@BWhaler23) December 28, 2019
Micah Parsons is an absolute MONSTER. Dare I say, Lavar Arrington?— NICK KAYAL (@NickKayal) December 28, 2019
Micah Parsons might be wanted for murder— Greg (@Sperbro) December 28, 2019
Micah Parsons: not bad at doing football related things— Chris (@cgodissart) December 28, 2019
The All-American linebacker finished with 14 tackles, 3 TFLs, 2 sacks, 2 pass break ups, a forced fumble, and a quarterback hurry. He pressured Brady White to force an interception that Garrett Taylor returned for a touchdown and Micah was blowing up one play after another all game long. Saturday’s performance solidified Micah as one of the best defensive players in the country, and potentially a Heisman contender entering 2020.
Another defensive player that had a strong game was defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos. In his final game before going pro, YGM was a problem for the Memphis offensive line throughout the game.
Yetur Gross-Matos pulls Brady White down with a one-handed sack. Geez. Gross-Matos is wearing a club on his left hand.— Elton Hayes (@EHDC12) December 28, 2019
YETUR GROSS SACKOS— Jeremy Reeder (@TheJeremyReeder) December 28, 2019
Gross-Matos used his only good hand for that sack. All he needs I guess.— Dylan Jacobs (@DylJacobs) December 28, 2019
In his collegiate swan song YGM recorded a sack, a TFL and an additional quarterback hurry. There were also multiple plays on which he drove the offensive lineman across from him into the backfield derailing the play.
Another player that balled out in his Penn State finale was punter Blake Gillikin. The Georgia native averaged 45.3 yards per punt on his three punts. This included a 57 yard boomer to start his day.
Blake Gillikin should have won the Heisman Trophy— Alex Eliasof (@AlexEliasof) December 28, 2019
Blake Gillikin we are all witness— Matt Flip (@mattflip42) December 28, 2019
Life without Blake Gillikin is going to suck— Sam Ellis (@sam_ellis15) December 28, 2019
Micah Parson is the second best Penn State player ever. Blake Gillikin is No. 1.— Darian Somers (@StuffSomersSays) December 28, 2019
Cotton Bowl MVP Blake Gillikin.— Sean Fitz (@seanfitz247) December 28, 2019
That will do it for the Cotton Bowl. For the third time in four years the Nittany Lions have finished the season with 11 wins after a trip to a New Year’s Six Bowl. They have won two of those three bowls. Now it’s onto an offseason that will see the Nittany Lions get hyped up as one of the top College Football Playoff contenders entering 2020.
All aboard the hype train bay bay!