ARLINGTON, Texas (WMC) - Getting to the 84th annual Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic is a definite accomplishment for the University of Memphis.
As the AAC Champion, and the top team in the Group of Five, just making it to the Cotton Bowl was not enough for this Tiger team. They wanted to win it against a formidable opponent like Penn State.
Memphis put up more points and more yards against Penn State than any team on the Nittany Lions schedule -- Power Five or not.
It was a 60-minute battle that Penn State was able to pull out 53-39, and Memphis was frustrated it didn't do better.
Still, it was a record-breaking day for the Tigers in multiple categories.
Tigers quarterback Brady White set a school passing record, and kicker Riley Patterson set a Cotton Bowl record. They wanted a win but didn’t get it.
"Obviously it's frustrating, but this is the standard for us. These big bowl games, and the season we had, and we know that, we showed it tonight. We know that we can compete and go toe to toe with teams like that. I just wish we could've put our best foot forward for us to potentially come out on top,” said White.
"Obviously wanted some of those field goals to be touchdowns. It is what it is. I'm happy that we were able to make those field goals, but obviously we want to win the game and, yeah, pretty upset about that right now,” said Patterson.
"Wasn't happy with the end result. We'll never be satisfied with losses. Like I just got done telling the young men in the locker room, they battled. They gave it every single thing. They had every play for the entire 60 minutes and didn't once have any fret, fear. They fought and I'm proud of that,” said Ryan Silverfield, Tigers head coach.
So the Tigers end the season with a 12-2 record, but they gain respect around the nation for the way they fought a Big 10 team until the finish.