There will surely be those who continue to doubt Case Keenum's ability to succeed at the next level, but he took at least a step in the direction of answering some of the concerns over his abilities while leading the Houston Cougars to a 30-14 win over Penn State in the TicketCity Bowl on Monday. Keenum completed 44 of 68 passes for 533 yards and three touchdowns as the Cougars overcame the disappointment of losing in the Conference USA title game and beat their first ranked opponent of the season.
Keenum got the Cougars off to a fast start while leading his team to scores on their first three possessions. The Cougars jumped out to a 17-0 lead following a pair of touchdown passes from Keenum and never led by fewer than 10 points after that. Although the Cougars were held out of the endzone and Keenum was stopped from essentially rewriting the record book (he did set a record for most completions in a bowl game) during the second half, they were able to move the ball whenever they needed to and avoided any turnovers.
The Cougars defense, meanwhile, had little trouble slowing down the Nittany Lions offense. The Cougars intercepted Penn State quarterback Rob Bolden three times and held him to just 7 of 26 passing. Penn State did get a little life in the third quarter when Bolden hooked up with Justin Brown on a 69-yard touchdown that cut their deficit to 27-14, but the Cougars immediately answered with a field goal.
Keenum wasn't the only Cougars player to put some outrageous numbers. Patrick Edwards caught nine passes for 229 yards and two touchdowns, including one that went for 75 yards. Justin Johnson caught Keenum's other touchdown throw and racked up 147 yards on 12 catches. Keenum, who already had the NCAA record for all-purpose yards, went over 20,000 for his career and the Cougars compiled more than 600 yards of offense in the game.