Earlier this season, it certainly looked as if Penn State and Houston were headed toward bigger things. Bigger bowls, to be more specific. But after two conference losses in the last three games for PSU and a shock loss for Houston in the Conference USA Championship Game, these teams will meet in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl.
Despite a horrifying child sex abuse scandal that rocked Penn State University, Penn State President Rodney Erickson and interim head coach Tom Bradley believed the current Nittany Lions players deserved to play in a bowl game.
Penn State is led by sophomore running back Silas Redd -- who is fully healthy after getting banged up in November and rushing for 703 rush yards in October (most in the nation) -- and the fifth ranked defense in points allowed.
The Nittany Lions defense faces a tough task today, considering Houston leads the nation in scoring (50.8 ppg) and total yards (599 ypg). Cougars star quarterback Case Keenum leads the relentless Houston offense and threw for an astounding 45 touchdowns, 5,099 yards and just five interceptions!
Who do you think will win this battle? Will this group of Penn State players cap its roller coaster season with a bowl win? Or will Houston roll over a major conference team?
Stay tuned here for live updates throughout the game and tweet to @HuffPostSports to join in the conversation.
Bolden throws the ball away on fourth down and gives the ball back to Houston with 44 seconds left. That will do it fokls. HOUSTON WINS TICKETCITY BOWL 30-14 AND THEY BREAK 9 RECORDS IN THE PROCESS!!!
Bolden takes two shots to the end zone and both deep passes fall incomplete. Offensive holding on the last play will extend the drive. On 3rd and 14, Bolden is forced to throw it away.
Bolden takes off and rushes for 19 yards to Houston's 36 yard line. 1:44 left.
Bolden is hit as he throws and the ball falls incomplete.
Moye returns the punt and takes it down the right sideline for 20 yards. Ball is on their own 40.
Houston calls timeout on 4th and 15 just before the delay of game penalty is called.
He's not injured, but he just ran back a couple yards, saw he was going to have to throw it away so he instead just slid to the ground to keep the clock running. Keenum has been named player of the game.
|@ Ben_Jones88 : Penn State has now thrown 8 interceptions in their past 2 bowl games.|
Phillip Steward picks off Bolden by midfield. He was just trying to make something happen but forced the throw into coverage. Add a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty and Houston is in PSU territory.
Green quickly runs to his left again and gets two yards and a first down.
Bolden found Smith deep down the left side wide open but he just couldn't haul it in. Probably because he tries to catch it with one hand...
Green runs left this time and barrels through a defender for 9 yards.
Green rushes up the middle for about 3 yards and a first down. 5 minutes to go in the game.
Rob Bolden completes a pass to Stephfon Green for 7 yards.
After a 6-yard completion, Keenum rushes his throw and misfires. Houston punt coming now. 6:14 to go.
After a penalty forces Houston to re-kick, their punt goes to PSU's 6-yard line.
Keenum overthrows Edwards deep down the middle. He has more than 600 yards today.
Houston has broken or tied 9 bowl records. 9...
Keenum finds Edwards for a 17-yard gain by the left sideline. Penalty is called on Penn State for hands to the fight. Add 15 yards to the end of the play.
Keenum gets flushed out of the pocket and rolls to his left for 3 yards.
And that 9th punt was shanked AGAIN. Houston will get it at their 32.
Bolden throws a laser to Derek Moye but it goes off the hands and falls incomplete. 4th down. 7:28 left in the game.
Bolden completes a pass to Green for a LOSS of a yard.
PSU runs an end-around to Devon Smith, who looked like he had to run backwards for 15 yards just to gain three yards on the play. Not sure why Penn State runs that play..
Belton takes the snap in the wildcat and rushes to his right for 8 yards. 15 yard penalty called on Houston for facemask. Penn State has the ball on the 43.
Houston opts to punt instead and Penn State will start the next drive at their own 18-yard line.
Keenum runs up the middle and gets dragged down a yard short of the first down. On 4th and 2, Houston is going for it. PSU calls timeout.
Keenum finds Ronnie Williams in the middle of the field and in the middle of 3 defenders but he is still able to make the catch. 12 yard gain.
Keenum throws a rainbow pass to Edwards down the left sideline, but the ball goes off the hands and falls incomplete.
Keenum feels the pressure and is forced to throw it away. Holding called on Houston. 10 yard penalty.
Keenum completes a pass to Simms for a gain of seven and a first down. NOW Houston is taking their time.