Penn State (9-3) vs. Houston (12-1)
Second annual Ticketcity Bowl in Dallas, Texas. This is the first of five B1G bowl games on January 2 (Remember last year? 0-5 on New Years? Sigh).
Penn State… 16/17 of the Nitty Lions season was non football related. Sandusky. Multiple felonies. Perjury. Paterno. The Second Mile. Coaching search. Interim Coach Tom Bradley. Curtis Drake knocked out starting QB Matt McGloin in a locker room brawl. McGloin was sent to the hospital with a seizure. Backup facing QB Rob Bolden “minor legal issue.” The B1G Bowl Selection jumping the (9-3) Lions in favor of the (7-5) Hawkeyes, the (6-6) Buckeyes and (6-6) Northwestern. Decommitting recruits. 1/17 Also Penn State went 6-2 in the B1G finishing second in their division.
The Houston Cougars finished the season 12-1 and ranked 19th. Their only loss came to Southern Miss. in the C-USA Title Game. Kevin Sumlin quit to take the Head Coaching job at Texas A&M. Tony Levine has been serving as interim head coach and will take over coaching duties for Sumlin as the Cougars enter the Big East Conference.
Houston’s Offense averaged 443.8 yards per game this year and 50.8 points per game. The Cougars were lead by Senior QB Case Keenum who completed 383 passes for 5099 yards and 45 TDs this season. Keenum is the NCAA All-Time Leader in those categories with 1501 completions for 18,685 yards and 152 TDs. Keenum’s targets this year were Patrick Edwards with 79 catches for 1524 yards and 18 TDs, Justin Johnson with 75 catches for 1081 yards and 11 TDs, and Tyron Carrier with 87 catches for 914 yards and 5 TDs. The Cougar running game takes a backseat to the running game. They have two running backs, Charles Sims and Michael Hayes, with just over 100 carries and 700 yards each.
Linebacker U’s Defense is lead by Jr. LB Gerald Hodges with 97 tackles, 10 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks, Soph. LB Glenn Carson has 74 tackles, and Sr. LB Nate Stupar with 68 tackles, 2 sacks and 2 Ints. The secondary is lead by Sr. S Drew Astorino with 77 tackles and 1 Int. and S Nick Sukay with 59 tackles and 3 Ints. The Defensive line is lead by Devon Still with 55 tackles, 17 for a loss, and 4.5 sacks, Jordan Hill with 58 tackles, 3.5 and sacks, and Jack Crawford with 40
tackles, 7.5 for a loss and 6.5 sacks.
Penn State’s Offense was anemic for most of the year. They tried running a duel quarterback system with both Jr. Matt McGloin and Soph. Rob Bolden. Bolden completed 42.2% of his passes for 548 yards, 1 TD and 4 Ints. Bolden may see
some snaps but will not be starting. McGloin completed 54.1% of his passes for 1571 yards, 8 TDs and 5 Ints. Expect to see Soph. RB Silas Redd do a majority of the work for the Nittany Lions. Redd has run for 1188 yards and 7 TDs. Penn States leading receiver is Derek Moye with 40 receptions for 654 yards and 3 TDs.
Bradley announced yesterday that QB Matt McGloin will not play due to ongoing issues with a head injury he suffered in a locker room fight with Wr Curtis Drake. Drake will also not participate in the Ticketcity Bowl versus Houston. Instead Penn State’s QB will be Sophomore Rob Bolden. Bolden has not preformed well this year. He completed 46 passes for 548 yards, 1 TD and 4 INTs.
The Cougar Defense is lead by the Linebacker core. Sr. LB Marcus McGraw with 131 tackles, 13.5 for a loss, 2.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery and 1 Int. Sr. LB Sammy Brown has 89 tackles, 28 tackles for a loss and 12.5 sacks. Fresh. LB Derrick Mathews with 89 tackles, 1 sack and 3 Ints. Finally, Jr. LB Phillip Steward with 74 tackles 1.5 sacks and 5 Ints. Leading the backfield is Soph. DB Kent Brooks with 65 tackles and 2 fumble recoveries. Jr. CB D.J. Hayden was named C-USA Newcomer of the Year with 62 tackles, 4 forced fumbles and 2 Ints. Leading the defensive line is red shirt Fresh. Eric Braswell with 43 tackles.
With Bolden at QB Houston’s Defense can concentrate against the run. Penn State’s Defense will not be able to hold Houston’s dynamic offense to a low enough score. Houston will win 27-13.
Things to Watch:
Penn States #5 Scoring Defense in the country vs Houston’s #1 Scoring Offense in the country. This should be fun.
Can Linebacker U get pressure on Case Keenum? Keenum only felt pressure against Southern Mississippi this year and threw 2 interceptions.
Will Houston be able to slow down Penn State’s running game? Redd will be healthy after a month off and gives up 171.8 yards on average.
Assumed Half-Time Show:
Assisted by fellow alumni Dennis and Randy Quaid, Houston alumnus Kenny Rogers will act as a medium and channel the spirit of Sam Houston and explain how it makes geographic sense that Houston, SMU, Boise State and San Diego State are in the Big East while Penn Staters just pretend like everything is normal.
World-weary Penn State will run better and Houston will pass but ultimately the Lions will win by controlling the clock.
Penn State 28-23
So far in this game, Keenum is on pace to throw for 1000 yards. Penn State is not present.
Early game prediction? Houston 66 Penn State -10