Penn State Finishes No. 9 in Both Postseason College Football Polls

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Following a third 11-win season in the last four years, the Penn State Football team finished in the Top 10 of the Associated Press (AP) poll and Amway Coaches polls.

(Photo by Paul Burdick. Check out more of Burdick’s work here)

This is Penn State’s third Top 10 finish in both polls in the last four seasons.

The Nittany Lions came in No. 9 in the final AP and Amway Coaches polls. Additionally, Penn State was No. 10 in the final College Football Playoff Rankings announced in December.

Penn State’s ninth-place finish in the AP poll marks the 25th time in program history the Nittany Lions ended the season in the AP Top 10. This marks the first time since 1993-96 that Penn State has finished in the Top 10 three times in a four-year stretch. This is also just the third time in the last 40 years (1979) the Nittany Lions have Top 10 finishes in three of four seasons.

Penn State finishes in the AP Top 25 for the 42nd time in program history. The Nittany Lions end the season in the AP Top 25 in four consecutive seasons for the first time since a seven-year stint from 1993-99. Penn State has been ranked in the AP Top 25 for the last 57 weeks, dating back to the 2016 season, marking the third-longest streak in program history and longest streak since 1993-2000 when PSU was ranked for 121-straight weeks.

The Nittany Lions finished in the Top 10 of the Amway Coaches poll for the 10th time in program history and in the Coaches Top 25 for the 22nd time in program history and the fourth-straight season. This is the first time Penn State has had four consecutive Top 25 finishes in the Coaches Poll since 2005-09.

Penn State is one of four teams (Clemson, Ohio State, Oklahoma) to rank in the Top 12 of the CFP final rankings in each of the last four seasons (2016-19).

The Nittany Lions posted their third 11-win season in four years with an 11-2 record, capped off by a. 53-39 win over No. 17 Memphis in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic. Penn State faced eight teams in the regular season which advanced to a bowl, earning six wins. Penn State has posted 15 consecutive winning seasons. Only five FBS teams have had a winning season each of the last 14 years (Oklahoma, Boise State, LSU, Wisconsin). Over those 15 consecutive winning seasons, Penn State has totaled at least 11 wins in six seasons.

Sophomore tight end Pat Freiermuth, sophomore wide receiver KJ Hamler and senior offensive lineman Steven Gonzalez each earned second-team All-Big Ten honors to lead the offense. Freiermuth was seventh in the Big Ten with seven receiving touchdowns to go along with 507 yards, while Hamler finished 31st in FBS in all-purpose yards (122.0 ypg) and 55th in total receiving yards (904). Sophomore running back Journey Brown came on strong in the second half of the season, tallying 593 of his team-best 890 rushing yards in the final five games of the season. He was the Offensive MVP of the Cotton Bowl with a personal-best 202 rushing yards and two touchdowns.

Defensively, sophomore linebacker Micah Parsons became the 101st first-team All-American in program history and the 43rd consensus All-American after a dominating season. He finished fifth in the Big Ten with 8.4 tackles per game (109 total) and was sixth in FBS with four forced fumbles. Named the Defensive MVP of the Cotton Bowl and Big Ten Linebacker of the Year, Parsons is the seventh Nittany Lion since 2000 with 100 or more tackles and 10 or more tackles for loss. Junior defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos earned first-team all-conference honors with a team-best 15.0 tackles for loss and 9.5 sacks.

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