A big question going into today's TicketCity Bowl was whether Penn State would be motivated to play.
It's safe to say the Nittany Lions didn't show up against Houston in the first half.
The Cougars lead 24-7 at halftime, and it could be even worse if not for a missed field goal and a dropped pick-six opportunity. Houston had no fear of Penn State's ferocious defense and decided to go right after the Lions through the air. And boy has that worked.
Record-breaking quarterback Case Keenum has thrown for 381 yards on 45 attempts with three touchdowns in the first half. Keenum attempted 29 passes in the first quarter alone. His favorite target, receiver Patrick Edwards, has 201 receiving yards, including a 75-yard scoring grab late in the half when it looked like Penn State had started to build a little momentum. Remember that Penn State allowed just 162 passing yards per game in the regular season, so this is stunning.
Meanwhile, the Lions' offense has done next to nothing. Quarterback Rob Bolden, starting for the injured Matt McGloin, is just 2-for-10 for 55 yards. Tailback Silas Redd, who figured to have a big game against Houston's defense, has run for only 23 yards on nine carries. The Nittany Lions' points came after a big punt return by Justin Brown set them up with a short field. We knew this was a wild mismatch between offenses, but Penn State's defense has been vastly disappointing in all facets.
It's ugly all the way around for Penn State, which looks like it just wants to go back to State College and wait for a new head coach to be hired.