The TCU Horned Frogs tied the largest deficit overcome in bowl history and stunned the Oregon Ducks in triple overtime, 47-41, after trailing by 31 points at the half in Saturday’s Alamo Bowl.
TCU backup quarterback Bram Kohlhausen led the iconic comeback, capped by an eight-yard, game-winning rushing touchdown on what was the Horned Frogs' ninth consecutive scoring drive.
The Horned Frogs then held off the Ducks on their final possession, forcing a turnover on downs to secure the victory.
ESPN Stats & Info put in perspective how remarkable the Horned Frogs’ comeback was:
Kohlhausen finished 28-of-45 for 351 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in what was the grittiest performance of the bowl season thus far.
In his first and only start at TCU, the senior signal-caller filled in poignantly for Big 12 star Trevone Boykin, who was out following his arrest for allegedly assaulting a police offer Thursday. Kohlhausen even drew acclaim from Texas senator Kirk Watson:
Kohlhausen capitalized on a stagnant Oregon offense in the second half, which was plagued when starting quarterback Vernon Adams Jr. left in the second quarter with a head injury.
Flustered backup Jeff Lockie was pushed into action and forced Oregon into a quartet of three-and-outs in regulation, and the team could only score when positioned favorably in overtime.
His distressed play put far too much pressure on the defense, as Isaac Ropp of 1080 The Fan and George Schroeder of USA Today noted:
Lockie was 2-of-6 in overtime and missed both of his passes on the final drive.
TCU took its first lead on a seven-yard touchdown pass from Kohlhausen to Emanuel Porter on the first possession of overtime, but Oregon responded with a six-play drive capped by running back Royce Freeman’s third touchdown.
In an otherwise disappointing outcome for Oregon, Freeman set a high mark in the Ducks' record books, per Oregon assistant athletic director Andy McNamara:
Oregon’s streak of 10-win seasons will end at seven, as the Ducks dropped to 9-4 following their third overtime game of the season, two of which ended in defeat.
The Ducks entered Saturday winners of six straight following a 3-3 start in what looked to be a rebuilding year following last season's run that ended in the national title loss to Ohio State.
TCU didn’t fulfill its College Football Playoff hopes, and it enters the offseason with many question marks on offense. But the Horned Frogs can assuredly ride momentum from what’s been the biggest win this bowl season thus far.
Kohlhausen will walk away from TCU with only one start on his resume, but he will be remembered in Horned Frog lore for his heroics in Saturday’s memorable outcome.
Even former in-state rival and Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel offered his impression of Kohlhausen’s performance following Saturday’s game:
Even with Boykin out for a controversial reason, Kohlhausen offered recognition to the incumbent quarterback:
Kohlhausen was emotional when discussing Boykin, alluding to playing gear bearing the starter’s initials and speaking highly of him during his postgame press conference, per Carlos A. Mendez and Travis L. Brown of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram:
Saturday’s game was one of many chapters in what’s been an emotional week for Kohlhausen, who lost his father just prior to the holidays, per Bill Jones of CBS Dallas:
Oregon head coach Mark Helfrich didn’t defer blame after the loss and offered consolation to his crew after Saturday’s exhausting marathon, per Brianna Amaranthus of CSNNW.com:
The Ducks have to feel this is one that got away, particularly when you consider the enormous lead they held heading into the half.
Nonetheless, a 9-4 finish is likely much better than they could’ve forecast after such a sluggish start. They’ll head into the offseason with continued questions at quarterback after Adams’ departure and Lockie’s lackluster outing, and things won’t get easier in a Pac-12 that’s seeing improvement across the board.