All it took was a change of shirts from TCU coach Gary Patterson for his Horned Frogs to win the Alamo Bowl.
OK, it was much more than that. But TCU overcame a 31-0 deficit in the second half of Saturday night's game vs. Oregon to win 47-41 in three overtimes. It ties the largest comeback in bowl history and is the largest completed comeback in the 2015 season.
The winning points came from TCU QB Bram Kohlhausen, subbing for the suspended Trevone Boykin. Kohlhausen, a fifth-year senior, ran for an eight-yard TD to start the third OT. TCU (11-2) got the win after stopping Oregon (9-4) on fourth down on the Ducks' next possession. Oregon QB Jeff Lockie dropped the snap on the play before to turn a third-and-2 into a fourth-and-8.
At halftime, Patterson changed from a black long-sleeve shirt to a purple short-sleeve one to help his team's mojo. However, a large part of the "much more" was the absence of Oregon quarterback Vernon Adams, who exited with the Ducks up 28-0 in the second quarter.
Adams took a vicious shoulder to the helmet while on a run play two plays after TCU had blocked an Oregon punt that was caught by a Ducks player and run for a first down. After being down for a moment, Adams walked off the field under his own power but he returned in the second half in street clothes. Before he left the game, Adams was 13-of-19 passing for 197 yards.
With Lockie in at QB, Oregon's offense couldn't move the ball. And since Oregon couldn't get going, its defense was on the field a lot in the second half. The fatigue was evident, as TCU scored 11 points in the final four minutes to tie the game at 31.
It also hurt the Ducks that starting center Matt Hegarty was injured in the first half. Hegarty also returned to the sidelines in the second half in street clothes. His replacement, Doug Brenner, snapped the ball over Lockie's head and had multiple snaps that were too low and disrupted play rhythm. (The third overtime dropped snap was near Lockie's waist.)
The Oregon offense had 345 yards in the first half. It had 52 yards in the second, though we're not sure how much of the discrepancy is attributed Patterson's magic second-half shirt.
While Oregon struggled in the second half, TCU quarterback Bram Kohlhausen played much better in the second half and subsequent overtimes than he did in the first. Kohlhausen ran for his first touchdown on fourth down to make the game 31-17 and finished the game with 351 passing yards and 45 rushing yards.
The game went to overtime when Jaden Oberkrom made a 22-yard field goal with 19 seconds left to tie the game at 31-31. Both teams scored touchdowns in the first overtime and Oberkrom and Oregon kicker Aidan Schneider each hit field goals of over 40 yards in the second overtime.
The Alamo Bowl was also Kohlhausen's first career start. It came after Boykin was suspended for the game because of a Thursday morning arrest involving an alleged bar altercation. Video of the alleged incident was released earlier in the day.
Before TCU's win Saturday, the largest comeback of 2015 had been Maryland's comeback over Rutgers. The Terrapins were down 25 points before beating the Scarlet Knights 44-41. The record for biggest bowl comeback was set in 2006, when Texas Tech rallied from a 38-7 deficit in the Insight Bowl to beat Minnesota 44-41.
For more Oregon news, visit DuckSportsAuthority.com.
For more TCU news, visit PurpleMenace.com.
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