Ticket City Bowl: Penn St vs. Houston

December, 4, 2011
12/04/11
8:23
PM CT
The 2012 TicketCity Bowl at the Cotton Bowl will feature Houston and Penn State at 11 a.m. on Jan. 2. Here's the release:

The 2012 TicketCity Bowl will feature a pair of Top 25 college football powers as the January 2 game will showcase the pin-point passing of college football’s all-time passing leader, Houston’s Case Keenum, against the vaunted defense of the Penn State Nittany Lions.

“We are pleased and honored to have two of this year’s truly outstanding college football teams,” said TicketCity Bowl President Tom Starr about the first-ever post-season matchup between the Big Ten Conference vs. Conference USA. “Our goal from the start was to bring major college post-season football back to historic Cotton Bowl Stadium, and with this extraordinary match-up coupled with last year’s exciting Texas Tech-Northwestern game; we believe we have accomplished that objective.”

The second annual TicketCity Bowl will be televised by ESPNU with an 11 a.m. (CST) kickoff. Texas Tech of the Big 12 Conference won the inaugural TicketCity Bowl in 2011 by defeating Northwestern of the Big Ten Conference 45-38 as the two schools combined for 927 yards of total offense - most ever for a bowl game played in Dallas.

With both schools will being ranked among the nation’s elite entering the TicketCity Bowl next month, the combined record for two schools of 21-4 will be create the top post-season match-up outside of the BCS games. Houston finished with a 12-1 record and won the West Division of Conference USA with an 8-0 mark. Penn State posted a 9-3 regular-season mark and tied Wisconsin in the Big Ten’s Leader’s Division with a 6-2 record.

With Houston ranking first in the nation in passing (443.8 yards a game), total offense (599.0) and scoring (50.8 points a game), Penn State has a nationally-ranked defense under the direction of interim head coach Tom Bradley. The Nittany Lions are 10th in the nation in total defense (300.9) and fifth in points allowed (15.7 per game). Offensively, running back Silas Redd has rushed for 1,188 yards and seven touchdowns in 12 games to rank 26th nationally.

The 2012 TicketCity Bowl will be the final collegiate start for Keenum, who completed 41 of 67 passes for 373 yards and two touchdowns against Southern Miss to become the first quarterback to reach 5,000 yards passing in three seasons. The sixth-year senior bounced back from a torn knee ligament last season to set the Football Bowl Subdivision career records for total offense (19,572 yards), yards passing (18,685) and touchdown passes (152) this year.

The game will be the third between the two schools and first since 1977 when the then No. 10-ranked Nittany Lions defeated Houston 31-14 in State College on November 14. Penn State won the first game in the series with a 24-7 win in 1964 at Rice Stadium in Houston on September 17.

Both schools have played post-season games in the Cotton Bowl where Penn State was 2-0-1 in three appearances (1948, 1972 and 1975) before the Nittany Lions became a member of the Big Ten. Houston has posted a 2-2 mark in four Cotton Bowl appearances in 1977, 1979, 1980 and 1985 while a member of the Southwest Conference.

Penn State ranks third all-time in bowl wins (27) and eighth in post-season appearances (43). The Nittany Lions have a 27-14-2 bowl mark after posting a 4-3 post-season record the past decade after dropping a 37-24 decision last New Year’s Day to Florida in the Outback Bowl.

Houston will be playing in its third bowl game in the past five seasons under Coach Kevin Sumlin as the Cougars’ overall post-season record is 8-11-1. Three of their past five bowl appearances have been in Fort Worth at the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl where Houston sandwiched a 34-28 win over Air Force in 2008 with setbacks to Kansas in 2005 (13-42) and Air Force in 2009 (20-47).

Tickets to the 2012 TicketCity Bowl can be purchased online at the official bowl website www.ticketcitybowl.com or by calling the bowl office at (972) 444-2550. Ticket prices per seat are $25 (end zone), $50 (stadium seats), $75 (premier sideline) and $125 (chair back). In a continuing effort to provide the best sporting event value in DFW, the TicketCity Bowl also offers fans a $99 ticket deal. The FOOTBALLENOMICS ticket package includes 4 end zone tickets, 4 hot dogs and 4 sodas for $99. For more ticket information, please visit the official bowl website at www.ticketcitybowl.com.
Richard Durrett joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He writes about colleges, the Dallas Stars and the Texas Rangers. Richard spent nine years at The Dallas Morning News covering the Rangers, Stars, colleges, motorsports and high schools.

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