While Houston's offense is firing on all cylinders early in the TicketCity Bowl at Cotton Bowl Stadium in Dallas, Penn State's is sputtering. The Nittany Lions went 3-and-out on their first drive and on their second drive, running back Silas Redd was stopped for a yard on first down and a loss on second down. A rush by quarterback Rob Bolden got Penn State close to the marker near midfield, but no cigar, as Penn State was 3-and-out for a second straight drive to start the game.
On Houston's ensuing drive, Penn State's All-American defensive tackle Devon Still was replaced by DaQuan Jones. Still has suffered from turf toe this week, so it looks like that might be bothering him early on.
Meanwhile, Houston's Case Keenum is still firing. After a touchback to start the drive, he passes the Cougars up to their own 44-yardline. Penn State finally gets a stop outside of scoring range on a 3rd-and-9, however, to force a punt.
Keenum and the Cougars took over from near midfield, and picked up a first down on their first set of downs before Keenum his Patrick Edwards for 26 yards down to the Penn State 8-yardline. Malcolm Willis was the man burned again by Edwards as he was on the early 40-yard touchdown pass.
Houston finishes the drive with an 8-yard pass from Keenum to Justin Johnson. With 2:35 left in the opening quarter, the Nittany Lions now trail 17-0.