2012 TicketCity Bowl, Houston Vs. Penn State: Case Keenum, Cougars Too Much For Nittany Lions

Case Keenum and the high-powered Houston Cougars offense were too much for the 24th-ranked Penn St. Nittany Lions to handle in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl in Dallas, Texas.

Keenum added to his NCAA record passing totals by completing 45-of-69 pass attempts for 533 yards and three touchdowns as the 20th-ranked Cougars downed the beleaguered Nittany Lions 30-14. The win was a school-record 13th for the Cougars, and the first for new head coach Tony Levine, who was hired when Kevin Sumlin left for the Texas A&M Aggies job.

Keenum credited offensive coordinator Kliff Kingsbury for a solid game plan that allowed the Cougars to open up a 17-point lead on Penn State in the first quarter.

"Yeah. I mean, great game plan," Keenum said. "We had that game plan from the first week we watched film. I thought Coach Kingsbury and our offensive coaches did a great job of getting our guys in space, mixing up our quick game, then taking a few shots down the field, then being able to jump off some short screens."

Penn State interim head coach Tom Bradley said that the team played hard, but things just didn't go their way.

"I thought the guys came out and they played hard. It's been a difficult year for them," Bradley said. "It just didn't go our way."

Penn State's focus now turns to finding a full-time replacement for Joe Paterno, who was fired as part of the fallout from a sexual abuse case that has rocked the university. Following Monday's loss, Paterno's son, Jay Paterno, an assistant on the Penn State coaching staff , got emotional discussing his father, who was diagnosed with cancer and is recovering from a broken pelvis.

"I'm looking forward to everybody knowing what I know about him and his character and that he has always done what is right," Jay Paterno said.

In addition to Bradley, current Green Bay Packers quarterbacks coach Tom Clements and San Francisco 49ers offensive coordinator Greg Roman have interviewed for the Penn State head coaching job. New England Patriots offensive coordinator Bill O'Brien is also reported to be a candidate.

For more on the TicketCity Bowl, visit Penn State blog Black Shoe Diaries and Big Ten blog Off Tackle Empire, plus SB Nation Pittsburgh.

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