Former Hart football star Brady White led the Memphis Tigers as they took on the Penn State Nittany Lions in 53-39 Cotton Bowl loss Saturday at Arlington, Texas.
“It was awesome to run out into that stadium and see a bunch of blue,” said White in a postgame press conference Saturday. “I’m frustrated we didn’t get the job done, but I’m proud of the way this team battled for every single second of this game.”
White put up a whopping 454 yards through the air. None of his 32 completions landed in the endzone, as Memphis’s (12-2) red zone attack was largely on the ground. He was also sacked six times.
“Woohoo, awesome job,” said White sarcastically as he threw up his arms playfully with a smile. “I don’t care about performances; I care about wins and we didn’t get that today. I guess all the stats are bonuses, which is great, but I want to win.”
White, who graduated from Hart in 2014, was responsible for six of the Tigers’ points. He caught a 25-yard pass from senior wide receiver Kedarian Jones early in the third quarter, which set up Memphis on the Penn State 1-yard line. He fell across the goal line on the next play amongst a pile of bodies in a one-yard quarterback sneak.
In a competitive first quarter, the Tigers came out on top with a 13-7 lead. However, that lead quickly dwindled as nothing seemed to go their way in the second quarter. The Nittany Lions (11-2) outscored the Tigers 28-10 in the second quarter as Memphis struggled to put solid performances together on both sides of the ball.
“We pride ourselves on our response to both success and adversity,” said White. “Everyone cares about every single play. That’s the mentality that we have.”
The Tigers battled through adversity and made the second half much more interesting. Penn State only outscored Memphis 18-16 through the final two quarters of the highest-scoring Cotton Bowl in history.
The Tigers created more than Cotton Bowl history during the 2019 campaign. They won the AAC Championship and went to a New Year’s Six bowl for the first time in school history. With 12 wins, the 2019 Tigers also became the winningest football team in school history.
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“It’s been a blessing,” said White. “Obviously I’m pissed off we didn’t finish it with a ‘W,’ but there’s a lot of history that has been made, a lot of records broken, a lot of positives to take away. The only thing you can take away from this is to have more fire under you and get back to work next season.”
White also had a historic season. He threw for 4,014 yards, which placed him second on the Memphis all-time list. He also threw 33 touchdowns in 2019 to place him second in the school record books again. Both stats were career highs for White.
“It’s awesome to set records and perform well, but that’s what I love about football. It’s not about individuals, it’s about the entire team,” said White. “It takes a lot of work and dedication and sacrifice to win 12 games in a season. A lot of things have got to go together. I’m proud of that.”
As a redshirt-junior, White still has a year of eligibility left, but hinted at the possibility of going pro in a press conference before the game. His plans for 2020 remain unclear as he has not made any further comments since the conclusion of the bowl game.