The No. 20 Houston Cougars finished their 2011 season with a school record for victories as they coasted to an easy win in the 2012 TicketCity Bowl over No. 24 Penn State by a final score of 30-14.
The win was a feather in the cap for both the school and for quarterback Case Keenum, who set Houston bowl records in passing yards (532), passing attempts (69) and completions (45). He also became the first Cougars starting quarterback to lead his team to multiple bowl wins. Here's what Keenum had to say after the game:
It was great getting 13 wins, bowl victory. It's a long time coming. We've been working hard for this day. It feels good to come out on top with the win...As far as rankings and all that goes, all I'm concerned with is our team ranking this year, where we're going to end up. 13-1, hopefully in the top 15 in the country. I think that's pretty special going out with a win against a good football team like Penn State. As far as all that goes, it is special. It's been great playing at a place that's had a bunch of really good quarterbacks. I want to keep it up. I told...those guys, they need to keep it up. This is their team now. They need to get it going.
The win also served as a great inauguration for new head coach Tony Levine, who took over the position after Kevin Sumlin accepted a job at Texas A&M following the regular season. Here's Levine's reaction:
Really excited about the outcome of the game. Really excited not only for our program but for our seniors. They've led this team all year. Some have been here six years, some have been here two years, everywhere in between. Whatthey mean to us, what they mean to our program, their legacy was left with 13 wins today.
The way our entire football team prepared leading up to this game, I think you saw kind of the fruits of their labor. We had a month to prepare. Our kids wanted to go out against a really, really tremendous opponent in a January bowl game on a national stage and show the country that our loss a month ago in the championship game was not the norm, that was a fluke, not the 12 wins leading up to it.
Proud for our players, proud for our seniors, and proud for the University of Houston, really the whole city of Houston and the state of Texas.