The last 52 Memphis Football games featured an identifiable, reoccurring number 36 on the field.
Placekicker Riley Patterson was the bearer of that number. After four years, Patterson recalls his time with the Memphis Football team as a blessing.
"It's just been awesome," Patterson said. "I've been able to start since freshman year and been able to be on some really, really good football teams all four years. Just such a blessing."
Patterson played in every game for the past four Memphis Football seasons. During his time, he was a key component for a program that went 38-14. Patterson was utilized game after game for his talents as a kicker. Patterson said he came to Memphis to do just that.
"I wanted to come here," Patterson said. "I wanted to start. I wanted to be a part of something. I am glad I had that opportunity."
Patterson has finished an eventful career with Memphis and has decided to move to the next level. Now that it is over, Patterson said he was proud to play for such a passionate team, program and city.
"I hope my teammates remember me as a Christian man that really appreciates and loves each one of them," Patterson said. "Also, being good as a kicker. I hope people remember me as a consistent, dependable kicker that came through for Memphis."
Patterson received support from several members of the past and present coaching staff. Patterson thanked the efforts of Ryan Silverfield, Pete Lembo, Mike Norvell and Joe Lorig. He said he hoped all his coaches remember him for being a hard worker.
"I hope they remember me as someone who really cared and tried to do his very best every day," Patterson said.
When it came to the Memphis fans and supporters, Patterson said he hoped they will remember him for being a reliable performer and a God-fearing man.
"I really appreciate the opportunity that I had here in Memphis," Patterson said. "I was just really thankful everyone embraced me with open arms."
Patterson kicked in four bowl games and three consecutive American Athletic Conference championships. All four years the Tigers posted winning seasons.
In the 2019 SMU game, which was featured on ESPN's College Gameday, Patterson kicked four field goals in the 54-48 win.
Patterson ended the 2020 Houston-Memphis regular season finale with a 47-yard field goal kick as time expired, downing the Cougars 30-27.
Patterson kicked three field goals in a 29-24 win against Cincinnati in the AAC title game. Two of them were longer than 50 yards.
Of all the personal performances, memories and highlights throughout his time at Memphis, Patterson proudly stated he had a clear favorite.
"Winning the conference championship game was by far the best moment," Patterson said. "It was amazing. It was a sigh of complete excitement and happiness. It was just awesome, and it was really, really cool to be there and be in that moment."
Patterson detailed the pure elation of winning after appearing for the third time. He said finally being at the Liberty Bowl, the team performing well and their confidence hyped the game up. He said it was special to celebrate a win with people who wanted to win that game just as much as he did.
"It's a pretty special moment," Patterson said. "I don't think that there are many parts in a person's life, whether in sports or not, that you are able to get that feeling. I'm just thankful I had the opportunity to be in that spot."
Riley's stats and records
Patterson completed 64 of the 83 of his field goal attempts for his Memphis career. He also made 240-246 of his extra point attempts. Patterson totaled 432 total points in four years. His longest field goal was on October 3, 2020 against SMU where he nailed a 56-yarder.
Patterson is third in field goals made in Memphis Football history. He is second in all time in career field goal percentage, 77.1.
Patterson also earned the record for most field goals made in a bowl game. Six field goals and 21 points during the 2019 Goodyear Cotton Bowl are both records. He also set a Cotton Bowl record for having a 51-yard field goal.
Patterson got another record at the Montgomery Bowl with a 53-yard field goal kick. It was the longest field goal recorded in the 98-year history of the Cramton Bowl.
Other accolades include an invite to the 2021 Reese's Senior Bowl where he made both of his field goals and all three extra points. He also got an invite to 2021 East-West Shrine Bowl which was canceled. He also was a candidate for the Senior CLASS award for his work on and off the field.
He was featured on the Lou Groza award watchlist for two straight seasons. He was selected to the 1st team All-American Athletic Conference. He also was the AAC special teams player of the week following his performance in the 2020 Navy game.
What is next?
Patterson has completed his Pro Day appearance and is prepared to finish the last semester of his senior year. The upcoming graduation will put a supply-chain management degree in his name. Patterson said he hoped to be selected to a team where he can display his talent and have a chance to earn the starting spot on an NFL team.
Riley Patterson celebrates after kicking a game-winning field goal against Houston. Patterson scored 432 points for the Tigers in his four year career at Memphis.