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Remember the Alamo! TCU comeback upends Oregon

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With 40 bowl games played after the 2015 season, precious few were memorable. The Alamo Bowl was one of those.

Those who were in attendance or watched on television will remember the Alamo.

In one of the most incredible games of this season, or any season, the TCU Horned Frogs overcame a 31-0 halftime deficit on Saturday and stunned the Oregon Ducks in triple overtime, 47-41 on Saturday.

The storylines from this game could take up an entire sports section. TCU’s prolific quarterback, Trevone Boykin, made headlines two days before the game when he was charged with striking an officer, a felony. He was suspended for the game by Coach Gary Patterson.

Filling in at quarterback was fifth-year senior Bram Kohlhausen. The Frogs’ first half possessions consisted of five punts, a turnover on downs and an interception.

Oregon, with Vernon Adams at quarterback, Royce Freeman at running back and Darren Carrington at wide receiver, ran roughshod over TCU for the first 25 minutes. Adams had 197 yards passing in less than two quarters, while Freeman scored two touchdowns and Carrington had a receiving touchdown.

With everything seemingly going the Ducks’ way, fate intervened. TCU blocked an Oregon punt, but Oregon’s DeForest Buckner caught it out of the air behind the line of scrimmage and carried it for a first down with 5:13 left in the half.

That kept the Ducks’ offense on the field, but the game would change dramatically when Adams was knocked out of the game with an injury just 36 seconds later. It was 28-0 at the time. Starting center Matt Hegerty was also lost in the first half by injury.

Patterson and his staff were dressed in black to start the game, but came out of the locker room dressed in Horned Frogs’ purple. Kohlhausen caught fire and TCU, helped by a fumbled kickoff, put up 17 points in the third quarter. Oregon ran only four plays the entire period.

Adams replacement was junior Jeff Lockie, whose hometown is, of course, Alamo, California. Lockie must have felt like Davy Crockett because he and his teammates were totally under siege after halftime. Lockie finished with only 36 passing yards

Oregon had only two first downs the second half, while Kohlhausen was using his right arm and his legs to bring TCU back. He threw for two scores and ran for another on fourth down to help TCU tie the game with 19 seconds remaining.

With players from both teams cramping, each scored touchdowns in the first overtime and traded field goals in the second. Oregon could manage only a field goal on their next possession.

In the third overtime, Kohlhausen scored on an 8-yard run and Oregon was not able to respond. With the victory, TCU tied the all-time bowl record for comebacks. Texas Tech overcame a 31-0 Minnesota lead to win the 2006 Insight Bowl.

Patterson was understandably ecstatic about his team’s mental toughness to come back and win.

“I’ve got to give my kids credit,” said Patterson. “They fought back and have been doing it all year.”

When a questioner prompted him about coming out for the second half in a different color, he did not hesitate.

“The shirts worked,” he said.

Kohlhausen threw for 351 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for another 45 yards and two more touchdowns. Aaron Green ran for 101 yards and a touchdown for the Horned Frogs.

Freeman was the star for Oregon with 130 yards rushing and three touchdowns.

TCU finished the season with an 11-2 record and Oregon was 9-4.

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Bob Sparks is President of Ramos and Sparks Group, a Tallahassee-based business and political consulting firm. During his career, he has directed media relations and managed events for professional baseball, served as chief spokesperson for the Republican Party of Florida as well as the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Attorney General of Florida. After serving as Executive Deputy Chief of Staff for Governor Charlie Crist, he returned to the private sector working with clients including the Republican National Committee and political candidates in Japan. He lives in Tallahassee with his wife, Sue and can be reached at Bob@ramos-sparks.com.

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