OVERALL: It was hard to believe PSU was within two scores late in the game. As great as QB Case Keenum was, the Cougars sure seemed to leave a lot of points on the field.
OFFENSE: Houston came into the bowl allowing 386 yards per game. This against mostly Conference USA opponents. Penn State managed 306, and only 93 in the first half. The staff didn't use the Wildcat (with Bill Belton) as much as it should have, either.
DEFENSE: As many yards as the Cougars compiled (600), PSU somehow kept them more than 20 points below their regular-season average (50.8).
SPECIAL TEAMS: The Lions got some good things from the return game. But that was offset by mistakes (a fumble on a punt return, key penalties) and poor punting.
COACHING: We're not suggesting anything was easy for this group, given all that has gone down the last two months. But a lackluster showing by the team is a lackluster showing.
INTANGIBLES: If you thought the Lions might come into this game on an emotional high looking to prove the bowls that passed them over wrong, you had a bad read on the situation. PSU played hard but was flat.
OTHER GUY: Keenum is great. It will be interesting to see what this team does without him, though.
OFFICIALS: Some obvious missed calls both ways in our eyes.
CROWD: The stadium was less than half full. Perhaps the worst showing of Penn State fans at a bowl ever.