Penn State finished No. 9 overall and capped off an 11-2 season in 2019 with a 53-39 victory over Memphis in the Cotton Bowl. The Nittany Lions narrowly missed out on the Big Ten Championship game with a 28-17 loss to Ohio State.

They dominated on the ground with 202 rushing yards and two touchdowns from running back Journey Brown, among others to run away from Memphis. However, the coolest victory moment may be the new addition to Penn State’s campus.

The Cotton Bowl sent a gift to Penn State for the victory, making it one of the more unique icons for the football team.

Penn State Football


Special delivery from the @CottonBowlGame! This 200+ lb custom-made tire sculpture now lives in Happy Valley! 👀

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The 2020 Cotton Bowl was named No. 10 in the Top 10 bowl games of the season, with good reason.

Penn State and Memphis gave us the highest-scoring affair in the game’s lengthy history, and a contest that had no shortage of momentum swings remained competitive well into the fourth quarter. Memphis quarterback Brady White ended the day passing for a whopping 454 yards, but the performance performance by Brown headlined the win for the Nittany Lions.

Brown was also named one of Pro Football Focus’ Top 25 players returning for the 2020 season, one that should have College Football Playoff expectations for the Nittany Lions.

It is tough to top an 11-2 campaign, but Penn State goes into 2020 with National Championship pedigree.

“We’ve got a lot of work to do in a lot of different areas, but I think most people would agree that the program is headed in the right direction,” Penn State head coach James Franklin said after the Cotton Bowl win over Memphis. “We’re developing well. We’re game planning well. We’re recruiting well.”

Under Franklin, PSU previously reached 11 victories in 2016 and 2017. Penn State finished top-10 in national rankings for the third time in four years, marking only the third instance of such a span for the program since 1979.

“It started from last year. We had a chip on our shoulder,” sophomore linebacker Micah Parsons said after earning Defensive MVP honors in the Cotton Bowl. “We didn’t like how it ended. We got it in our minds earlier that we were going to go 100 percent in everything, whether it was workouts, whether it was practice. And in the games, it just translated all throughout the season.”

A consensus All-American and 2019 Big Ten Linebacker of the Year, Parsons headlines a list of 2020 Penn State returners that is also set to feature all-conference tight end Pat Freiermuth, Cotton Bowl Offensive MVP Journey Brown, quarterback Sean Cliffordrecord-setting freshman running back Noah Cain, veteran cornerback Tariq Castro-Fields, a defensive front seven loaded with blue-chip talent and five offensive linemen with significant starting experience.