TC BOWL: The Low Five

Review the lows (with a few highs) from Penn State's painful 30-14 loss to Houston in the Ticket City Bowl in Dallas.

The Ticket City Bowl was deficient on highs for Penn State efor much of the game - with a few sporadic sparks. All told, it was a rough afternoon for the Nittany Lions. Here's a review of the highs and lows:

HIGH FIVE

Brown Delivers: Justin Brown was one of the players who showed up to play. He broke open a big punt return for a touchdown. Unfortunately, the touchdown was called back after he stepped out of bounds, but the play gave the offense some energy and led to their first touchdown of the game. Brown added a 69-yard touchdown catch and run to give PSU some life in the third quarter.

Green Light: Senior Stephfon Green ran downhill on Penn State's first scoring drive and gave PSU a spark with a touchdown, which was extinguished quickly.

Wild Thing: Bill Belton was a nice change-up to start the second half - the low is that they went away from it after putting the Cougars on their heels...resulting in a Bolden interception.

Swan Song: It wasn't the way they wanted it to end, but a top of the hat to the seniors and particularly the coaches. Despite the issues fans may have with them with their performance over the years, they all stepped up in the face of uncertainty and stood tall for the players and program. In particular, Tom Bradley has shown unsurpassed class and dignity in a day when most coaches are focused on themselves and the next opportunity. So a hearty thank you to him and the staff.

Wide Right: Houston's kicker managed to miss to field goals - OK, yes we were desperate for highs in this game.

The Low Five

Pillow Soft: Unable to consistently get pressure on Keenum, Penn State's soft zone was picked apart time and again, particularly on third and long. This clearly frustrated the defense and gave Houston major opportunities. In fact the announcers regularly called out "man wide open for Houston" throughout the game. Yet, PSU made no apparent major adjustments.

NOT QB: Bolden had a few nice passes, the big 43-yard toss to Devon, the 69-yard circus touchdown by Justin Brown and a nice toss to Derek Moye that was dropped, but on the whole, he looked stunned throughout the game; missing simple tosses, locking on targets and telegraphing passes. And Penn State should scrap the screen passes with him under center.

Missed Call: Penn State's fake mis-snap for their first touchdown was a nice call, but overall the play-calling was more of the same, like running a reverse to the short side with Smith which was blown up. However, I have never understood why Penn State's coaching staff insists on running plays that are 5+ yards short of the first down marker.

Pad It: With under five minutes left Houston continued to air it out, apparently looking to build a case for Case Keenum's pro prospects. But the game was well in hand, sportsmanship is typically a nice gesture in those cases.

Talk, Talk, Talk: If you watched the game on TV, you know how bad the announcers were. No doubt ESPNU had to hire some holiday temps given their full slate of games today and the fact Craig James is off the payroll.

Bonus Low

Say What? Does anyone know what "mixing disconcerting signals" or "restricting the facemask" means? I am guessing the referee got a thesaurus for Christmas.

Lapse In Judgement: Hopefully Matt McGloin understands the impact of his decisions on the entire team. Granted, he took responsibility for the fight between him and Curtis Drake, but his lack of self control hurt this team. Hopefully, he learns from this and improves his leadership skills.

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