CFN Analysis - Houston Blows Up In TicketCity
Posted Jan 2, 2012

CFN Instant Analysis on Houston's blowout over Penn State in the TicketCity Bowl

CFN Analysis   

Houston, Penn State

By Pete Fiutak

- Penn State didn't have any interest in playing this game from the second it was announced. You could see it on the players' faces in interviews, and you could hear it when they talked. It was a strange mix of wanting a bigger bowl bid and also just wanting this long, painful season to mercifully come to a close.

- Rob Bolden isn't an FBS quarterback. There's nothing wrong with that, but he can't move an offense.

- Safety? He's quick and is good in the open field, but he just can't throw with any consistency.

- There wasn't a bigger quarterback talent disparity in the bowls.

- Case Keenum threw 69 times because he was able to complete 45 passes. Penn State didn't do anything to stop the Cougar receivers.

- It doesn't matter what the circumstances; Penn State came into this game ranked tenth in the nation in defense, fifth in scoring defense, fourth in pass defense, and fifth in passing efficiency defense and it came up with one of the worst performances by any defense in the history of bowl games.

- I'd rather see Houston play Michigan in the Sugar Bowl than Virginia Tech.

- The Big Ten wouldn't.

- Devon Still might have been named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, and he might be considered a top 15 NFL draft prospect, but he was a no-show over his final two games against Wisconsin and now Houston. He barely touched Keenum.

- Thanks for playing, Penn State. This might be it for the bowl fun for a long, LONG time.

By Richard Cirminiello 

Great start for new Houston head coach Tony Levine, who will go on to become the second straight internal hire who flourishes following his promotion. And when he does, Stanley Tucci will undoubtedly play him in the movie.

Penn State showed zero heart or motivation to be in Dallas for today's game. Just another reason why the program should have simply boycotted the postseason, and dipped into its own coiffures if it wanted to donate to child abuse causes.

Considering how much bellyaching Lions QB Robert Bolden did over the past year about his perceived lack of playing time, you'd think he'd deliver a better effort when given the ball for four quarters. The sophomore is a complete mess in the passing game, with a future in the FCS.

Staying on Penn State quarterbacks, can the program kindly land a coach who can finally upgrade the position in Happy Valley? Bolden and Matt McGloin are not even remotely Big Ten-worthy. Heck, even when this school had Michael Robinson on the roster a few years back, it still took four years before it eventually unleashed him.

Facing easily the best defense he's seen all year, Case Keenum may have changed the minds of a few pro scouts this afternoon. Yeah, he won't fit everyone's system, and isn't exactly the prototype, but his quick trigger and feel for the game could help him earn a backup job next fall.

The Cougars' performance—both on offense and defense—actually made me change my mind regarding the postseason. All of a sudden, I genuinely wish we could have seen how these guys would have fared in a BCS bowl setting versus, say, Michigan.

By Matt Zemek


Phil Harrison

- Penn State looked like it was sleeping through the first half of this game. It's too bad and by the time the Nittany Lions woke up, Houston had already completed an aerial assault on the defense.

- Was the game against Southern Miss an aberration for Houston? Case Keenum looked out of sorts against the Golden Eagles, but every other time the offense hummed. You have to wonder what might have been if the Cougars could have come to play on December 3rd..

- One month to prepare, and this is the defensive game plan that the Penn State coaching staff comes out with? Why the defense remained in a soft, base defense to start the game had to befuddle a lot of people. Keenum is going to pick out receivers when given time--and that's just what happened. If had to do over again, you gotta believe that the coaching staff would bring some more pressure out of the gate.

- What will happen with Penn State from here? Is this the beginning of a severe slide or can the ship remain afloat despite taking on water? Stay tuned...

- And what of the Houston program? The head coach is leaving, it'll be a part of a new conference, and all everything QB Case Keenum is headed to the NFL. It'll be interesting to see how well the Cougars make the transition.

- It's looking like a somber day for the Big Ten. Thanks be to Penn State for kicking of the hazing that looks to be coming.

By Terry Johnson
Please follow me on Twitter @TPJCollFootball

- Houston played like a team on a mission a today. It was evident from the opening whistle that the Cougars wanted to win this game to prove that they belonged in a better bowl game.

- There is more to Houston than just offense. The Cougar defensive line won the battle up front today, hitting Penn State running backs well behind the line of scrimmage.

- Tony Levine demonstrated today why he was a perfect fit as Houston's new head coach. Many criticized his elevation to head coach, asserting that the Cougars needed someone who had experience as a head coach or a coordinator. However, Levine proved that his CEO-type approach to be just as effective as the Cougars were more prepared than Penn State in every facet of the game.

- Give Levine and his staff credit for identifying mismatches right away. The Houston receivers were much faster than the Penn State secondary and were wide open on every play.

- Who says Case Keenum cannot play in the NFL? After the shredding the No.4 defense in country for over 500 yards, he should get a long look from NFL scouts.

- After suffering an absolute thrashing at the hands of a Conference USA team, does Penn State really expect to land a big-name coach? Why would someone leave a top job in the NFL to coach a program mired in the midst of scandal that has issues on both sides of the ball?

- The future is not completely bleak for the Nittany Lions. Despite all of the bad things that happened today, they did find a new star in true freshman Bill Belton. With his versatility, he should have a role regardless of what offensive system Penn State runs next year.