TicketCity Bowl: Gameday Preview

While the Penn State football team may have been on a break, the stories out of State College sure have not. The Nittany Lions seem to have a new head coach every day. Matt McGloin got knocked out (literally) of the TicketCity Bowl. Amid the distractions, the team is now in Dallas for a January 2nd match-up with No. 19 Houston.

Team: Houston Cougars
Conference: Conference USA
Head Coach: Tony Levine (0-0)
Series History: Penn State leads 2-0
Players to watch for: QB Case Keenum, WR Patrick Edwards, WR Justin Johnson, RB Michael Hayes
Prediction: Houston wins 27-16

How to watch: ESPNU at noon; Score updates from @onwardstate
Weather: According to AccuWeather, it will be sunny and in the 50s

For the first time since October, Rob Bolden will get the start at quarterback for Penn State. He will need to have his best game of the season to keep the Nittany Lions in contention against Houston’s high-powered offense.

The top-ranked Cougar offense is led by quarterback Case Keenum, who threw for 5,099 yards and 45 touchdowns this season. Keenum has a plethora of receiving threats at his disposal. Patrick Edwards and Justin Johnson both have over 1,000 yards receiving this year, and Tyron Carrier is close with 914. In what has been rare this season, the Nittany Lions will be playing a quarterback that does not pose a threat running with the football. However, that may not matter against this Houston offense.

In many ways, this game is difficult to predict. Houston has the nation’s best offense, but the Cougars scored just 28 points in their final game, a loss against Southern Mississippi that caused them to fall from BCS contention. On the other hand, Penn State had a stingy defense all season before giving up 45 points to Wisconsin in its final regular season game.

On the other side of the ball, the Nittany Lions will hope to score a good amount of points against an average defense. However, a wrench may have been thrown into those plans when McGloin was declared ineligible for the bowl game. Bolden has possibly his final chance to silence his critics against Houston on Monday.

Prediction: The Penn State defense will hold Houston to its lowest offensive output of the year, but the Nittany Lion offense will not be able to get the job done. The Cougars will end Penn State’s tumultuous season with a 27-16 victory in the TicketCity Bowl.

Also look at…

Onward State immediately following the game for a recap.
Silas Redd Looking to End Season on High Note by Ben Jones at StateCollege.com.
More Munch, the Packer is Back and a Guess That May Be Richt by Mike Poorman at StateCollege.com.
Bill O’Brien Emerging as Leading Candidate by Nate Mink at StateCollege.com.

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About the Author

Michael Berton

I grew up in a Philly suburb, then moved to a different one. I am now at Penn State, where I can actually sate my giant appetite for sports. Other than writing, I also play the cello in the Penn State Philharmonic.

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