• A Case of too much for Penn State

    DALLAS – When Case Keenum received Houston’s game plan for Monday’s TicketCity Bowl, he had a twinkle in his eye.

    “Before the game we knew we were going to throw the ball a bunch,” he said, “and talked about breaking records.”

    Keenum let his arm do the talking at Cotton Bowl Stadium, where he carved Penn State’s defense for 532 yards and three touchdowns in a convincing 30-14 victory before an announced crowd of 46,817.

    Keenum, the most prolific passer in NCAA history, broke six stadium postseason records, which date to 1937. He completed 45 passes in 69 attempts, both records for Nittany Lions opponents in any game.

    “I think he’s a really good quarterback, probably the best one we’ve seen all season,” said co-defensive coordinator Larry Johnson. “He really has a good eye. He really knows where to go with the ball. He’s precise in what he’s doing.”

    Penn State (9-4) dropped back-to-back bowl games for the first time since 1975-76 and finished its tumultuous season with its third loss in four games.

    Former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky was indicted on 40 counts of sexually abusing children in November, which led to the firing of Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno and the departures of president Graham Spanier, vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley.

    “I don’t think the distractions got to us at all,” wide receiver Justin Brown said. “We were used to them from the whole season.”

    One other distraction might have hurt Penn State more than the scandal.

    Quarterback Matt McGloin and wide receiver Curtis Drake fought after a Dec. 17 practice in the locker room. Neither one played Monday, McGloin because he did not receive medical clearance after suffering a seizure and concussion and Drake because he did not make the trip for personal reasons.

    With Rob Bolden replacing McGloin, the Nittany Lions struggled and were unable to keep the ball away from Keenum and the Cougars (13-1).

    “You play the cards you have,” interim coach Tom Bradley said. “I think we could have helped Rob today. We dropped some passes. We didn’t make plays when we had to make them.”

    Making his first start since Oct. 15 against Purdue, Bolden was, to put it kindly, ineffective. He completed just 7-of-26 passes for 137 yards, was intercepted three times and saw Houston defenders drop three other passes.

    “There were some balls I wish I could have had back,” Bolden said, “and some balls that could have been caught. I think I did pretty well.”

    Keenum played on another level than Bolden did. In the first quarter alone, he completed 21-of-29 passes for two touchdowns and 227 yards, which broke an NCAA bowl record.

    He found Patrick Edwards behind D’Anton Lynn for a 40-yard touchdown on Houston’s first series and later hit Justin Johnson on an 8-yard score, helping give the Cougars a 17-0 lead.

    Bradley worried about the game about how the defense would adjust to Houston’s pace in the first quarter, especially with All-American tackle Devon Still hobbled by turf toe.

    “They were snapping the ball before the chains were even set,” defensive tackle Jordan Hill. “It was hard to keep our composure. It was very frustrating.

    “When you pass the ball that many times and are that efficient, it’s hard to stop. I got through twice, but I didn’t have a chance (to sack Keenum) because the ball was coming out so fast.”

    Penn State, though, gained some traction in the second quarter. Devon Smith’s diving 43-yard catch set up Stephfon Green’s 6-yard touchdown run, giving the Lions some life.

    But a few minutes later, Keenum avoided the rush and found Edwards at least 20 yards behind the defense after safety Drew Astorino slipped. The 75-yard touchdown play gave the Cougars a 24-7 lead with 1:43 left in the half.

    “That just broke our back,” Bradley said.

    The Lions played better in the second half, but they were too far behind. Brown’s terrific 69-yard touchdown catch pulled them within 27-14 in the third quarter, but that was as close as they got.

    “We just felt bad because the seniors couldn’t go out with a win,” Hill said. “With either a win or a loss, there were going to be some tears. The loss just made it worse.”

    Both comments and pings are currently closed.

    Comments are closed.

    JN0-311 C2180-317 MB3-862 642-414 1Z0-516 HP2-K29 VCP510 C_ISR_60 70-415 000-740 HP2-K09 1Z0-864 070-464 000-M17 HP0-A22 E20-465 1Z0-852 000-268 000-289 220-801 LOT-924 000-926 BCP-211 EVP-101 000-235 1Z0-233 070-225 090-602 C4090-450 050-686 6101.1 646-590 000-545 000-349 MB6-509 074-138 646-361 HP0-M47 EE0-512 000-598 BH0-002 1D0-442 HP0-651 070-573-VB C_HANATEC_1 1Z1-899 1Z1-023 70-663 650-752 COG-180 700-038 70-498 000-109 JN0-561 MB6-285 4A0-105 HP0-J16 220-302 1Z0-542 C2040-402 MB3-230 642-061 CTAL_TM_001 C_GRCAC_10 1Z1-580 UM0-100 HP0-M53 070-536 1Z0-301 1D0-541 646-222 C2010-657 000-730 C2180-377J 640-861 1Z0-223 642-359 000-639 000-232 HP0-850 70-567 C_TADM53_70 650-127 1Y0-306 000-048 HP3-C29 070-620 A4040-122 640-461 LOT-828 250-271 LOT-917 HP0-065 1Z0-547 000-387 820-422 070-667 070-646Big5 C2020-615 000-904 JK0-017 A2040-402 000-N27 642-523 070-217 C2140-820 650-156 CAS-001 LOT-753 M2050-244 00M-238 HP0-J11 HP2-Z28 000-387 820-422 070-667 070-646Big5 C2020-615 000-904 JK0-017 A2040-402 000-N27 642-523 070-217 C2140-820 650-156 CAS-001 LOT-753 M2050-244 00M-238 HP0-J11 000-348 LOT-406 9L0-607 C2040-917 HP0-645 HP0-J28 70-236 000-076 70-549 MB0-001 HP0-M28 HP2-H13 642-964 642-874 642-887 642-889 646-206 2V0-621D 2V0-621 312-50v8 312-49v8 220-802 220-801 c2010-652 1Z1-216 c2070-585 70-686 00M-604 70-642 640-864 COG-180 650-752 1Z1-023