• TicketCity Bowl highs and lows

    Player of the game (offense)

    Houston quarterback Case Keenum completed 45-of-69 passes for 532 yards and three touchowns. He set an NCAA bowl record for passing yards in a quarter with 227 in the first quarter.

    Player of the game (defense)

    Houston safety Nick Saenz made eight tackles and intercepted two passes.

     By the numbers

    45 – Case Keenum’s completions, the most against Penn State in any game and the most in Cotton Bowl Stadium postseason history, which began in 1937.

    69 – Keenum’s pass attempts, the most against Penn State in any game and the most in Cotton Bowl Stadium postseason history.

    542 – Keenum’s total yards, the most in Cotton Bowl Stadium postseason history.

    532 – Keenum’s passing yards, the most in Cotton Bowl Stadium postseason history.

    76 – Keenum’s plays, the most in Cotton Bowl Stadium postseason history.

    600 – Houston’s total yards, the most in Cotton Bowl Stadium postseason history.

    Quotable

    “I was disappointed in the way we played. I thought we’d play better. I didn’t anticipate giving up those big plays.” – Penn State interim head coach Tom Bradley.

     Three things to take from Penn State’s 30-14 loss to Houston.

    1.Houston quarterback Case Keenum reminded me of Drew Brees when he played at Purdue with his release, accuracy and decision-making.

    2. Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden cemented his legacy a recruiting bust by completing just 7-of-26 passes for 137 yards with three interceptions. He finished the season with a horrendous 38 completion percentage.

    3. Whoever the next Penn State head coach is, he must address three areas: quarterback, offensive line and secondary.

    Play of the game

    Houston quarterback Case Keenum avoided a rush and found Patrick Edwards alone behind the Penn State secondary for a 75-yard touchdown pass, which gave the Cougars a 24-7 lead with 1:43 left in the first half.

    Unsung hero

    Penn State wide receiver Justin Brown made one catch for a 69-yard touchdown and had a 26-yard punt return.

    Best call

    Penn State coaches installed the Wildcat offense at the start of the second half. Wide receiver Bill Belton, a high school quarterback, carried six times for 38 yards.

    Worst call

    Penn State coaches should have used the Wildcat more often since Rob Bolden was so ineffective.

    Best run

    Brown fielded a third-quarter punt at the Penn State 7, broke at least four tackles and raced into the end zone. But he stepped out of bounds at the Penn State 33.

    Best pass

    Keenum fired a deep strike down the left sideline to Patrick Edwards for a 40-yard touchdown in the first quarter.

    Worst passes

    Bolden threw three interceptions and nearly had three others picked off.

    Best catch

    Brown snared Bolden’s pass down the middle, which was slightly behind him, and finished a 69-yard touchdown in the third quarter.

    Worst drop

    Penn State wide receiver Derek Moye dropped a deep pass in the second quarter, watching it bounce off his chest.

    Best hit

    Houston linebacker Marcus McGraw flattened Penn State running back Silas Redd for a 2-yard loss in the first quarter.

    Best kick

    Penn State punter Anthony Fera got off a 53-yard punt that was downed at the Houston 16 in the second quarter.

    Worst kicks

    Fera shanked two punts, one for 31 yards and one for 24.

    Most telling statistics

    Keenum set six Cotton Bowl Stadium postseason records and helped Houston set five others.

    Missing in action

    Moye made no catches in his final game at Penn State.

    Did you notice?

    Penn State linebacker Nate Stupar made a game-high 12 tackles in his final game.

    Penn State cornerback D’Anton Lynn broke up one pass in the end zone and another on fourth-and-1 at the Nittany Lions’ 25.

    The Nittany Lions used five defensive backs and two linebackers almost the entire game.

    Injury report

    Penn State defensive end Sean Stanley suffered a dislocated left elbow in the second quarter and did not return.

    Penn State safety Drew Astorino and cornerback Adrian Amos sustained concussions in the second half.

    Penn State running back Silas Redd suffered an injury to his right knee in the third quarter and did not return.

    On deck

    Ohio U. at Penn State, Sept. 1, Beaver Stadium.

     

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