TCU mounts historic comeback, stuns Oregon in triple OT in Alamo Bowl

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They say the clothes make the man, and Gary Patterson was hellbent on proving just that on what turned into a wild and historic Saturday night in San Antonio.

Wearing a black polo in the first half, Patterson watched as his No. 11 TCU squad seemed headed for a blowout loss as they were outscored 31-0 by No. 15 Oregon in the first two quarters of the Alamo Bowl.  Patterson changed into a purple polo in the halftime locker room… and his Horned Frogs proceeded to tie the biggest comeback in bowl history, stunning the Ducks in triple overtime 47-41.  The 31-point comeback ties the FBS bowl record, matching Texas Tech’s reversal of Minnesota in the 2006 Insight Bowl.

TCU outscored Oregon 17-0 in the third quarter as momentum swung wildly their way and the deficit was cut to 31-17.  An Aaron Green touchdown run with under four minutes left in the fourth quarter, followed by a two-point conversion, cut the lead down to just three at 31-28.  On the ensuing possession, the Ducks inexplicably passed on second and third downs; the incompletions stopped the clock and helped lead to Jaden Oberkrom‘s 22-yard field goal with :19 left in regulation that sent the game into overtime.

The two teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime and field goals in the second.  In the third, a Bram Kohlhausen eight-yard touchdown run and failed two-point conversion gave the Horned Frogs a 47-41 lead.  The Ducks, however, could manage just two yards on their next and final possession of the game, with an incompletion on fourth down officially sending TCU into the FBS bowl record books.

The Horned Frogs were left for dead after a first half that saw them outgained 376-142.  Then the Ducks were forced to play the entire second half without their starting quarterback and starting center, and it showed as they were held to just 18 (!!!) yards of offense the last two quarters.  Kohlhausen, playing in place of the suspended Trevone Boykin, was superb, bouncing back from a rough first half to throw for 354 yards and a pair of touchdowns in his first career start.

Then, of course, there was this…

If you were looking for the dictionary definition of a tale of two halves, this was it.

TCU was forced to punt on five of its eight first-half possessions, with another ending on downs and another with an interceptions.  In the second half, Oregon, after scoring on five of their eight first-half possessions, punted at the end of their first four second-half drives before what would’ve been a Hail Mary attempt ended in a sack at the end of the fourth quarter.

TCU ended up with a 545-419 advantage in total offense.

While the loss of quarterback Vernon Adams and center Matt Hegarty certainly hurt those numbers, it had nothing to do with the second-half collapse of the Ducks’ defense.  Oregon simply had no answers for an undermanned TCU offense in the last two quarters and overtime sessions, and the collapse will lead some to wonder, perhaps even head coach Mark Helfrich, whether the tenure of long-time UO coordinator/assistant Don Pellum should come to an end.

TCU finished 2015 at 11-2, and have now won 10-plus games in back-to-back seasons five times the past 13 years. Oregon, meanwhile, finished at 9-4, breaking a streak of seven consecutive 10-win seasons.

Nobody placed a bid on Harbaugh’s autographed khakis

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Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has certainly made a name for himself over the years with his affinity for a simple pair of khakis. It is not uncommon for clothes worn by coaches to be auctioned off for a charitable reason, but any hope of bringing in big money over a pair of khakis signed by the head coach of the Wolverines came up empty in a recent auction, according to Land of 10.

The U of M Club of Detroit hoped a pair of signed khakis would be a great auction item, but the one-of-a-kind auction item had nobody biting. Perhaps it was the starting bid of $900 that kept potential bidders away. Or maybe a signed pair of pants is just not at all the kind of piece even the most devoted Michigan collector wants to add to their collection?

This is not all that unheard of given the style of the auction. Because it was a silent auction, there was never a chance to see the bidding go back-and-forth between potential suitors. HAd the pants been auctioned off in a standard auction format, the odds are the item may have been able to be sold to one lucky high bidder. The risk, however, would be not fetching the desired goal for the item. If the starting bid was lower in a regular auction, there is no guarantee it would have reached the desired $900 goal.

For now, the pants will likely stay in storage awaiting the next silent auction, so all is not lost. The khakis will just have to wait for another day to be won by one lucky Michigan fan or devoted khaki enthusiast.

TCU WR Isaiah Graham announces transfer from Horned Frogs

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Sophomore wide receiver Isaiah Graham is leaving TCU behind in search of a new opportunity. Graham announced his intention to seek a new place to call home with a statement on his Twitter account. In it, Graham thanked TCU head coach Gary Patterson and the coaching staff for bringing him into the football program in Fort Worth.

As a freshman, Graham played in nine games, in which he caught six passes for 68 yards. This season, Graham appeared in 10 games and caught two passes for 16 yards. The sophomore was buried on the depth chart and his chances to get on the field had largely been in nothing more than a reserve role the past two seasons. With that outlook not looking to drastically change in 2018, Graham will look for a place where he might have the chance to play more of a contributing role in an offense.

Graham will have to sit out the 2018 season if the former three-star recruit (according to Rivals) lands at another FBS program. He will have two years of eligibility after sitting out the 2018 season. He has yet to use a redshirt season.The Louisiana native chose TCU over offers from a number of programs including Arkansas, Louisiana Tech, Miami, Mississippi State, Nebraska, SMU, Tennessee, and more. Whether any of those programs remain in play for Graham now remains unknown.

Nebraska loads up on FCS cupcakes in future scheduling

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The future of Nebraska football is beginning to look a bit more optimistic with the recent hiring of Scott Frost. Time will tell just how many wins Nebraska will start racking up in Big Ten play under Frost, but Nebraska has made some moves to secure some likely wins in future seasons.

In a scheduling announcement on Wednesday, Nebraska has announced future games against two FCS opponents — South Dakota State and North Dakota — and Georgia Southern of the Sun Belt Conference. Nebraska will host South Dakota State in 2020, 2024, and 2028. North Dakota (NOT North Dakota State) will head to Lincoln in 2022 and 2026. Georgia Southern will occupy a spot on the non-conference schedule in 2022. Per Nebraska;

  • South Dakota State—Sept 12, 2020; Aug. 31, 2024; Sept. 9, 2028
  • North Dakota—Sept. 3, 2022; Sept. 19, 2026
  • Georgia Southern—Sept. 10, 2022

It is important to note Nebraska’s addition of South Dakota State and North Dakota no longer violates the Big Ten’s scheduling initiative to ban FCS opponents. That policy was revised to allow for the addition of these teams in years Big Ten teams only have four conference games scheduled at home (and five road games in conference play). Big Ten teams are still required to schedule a game against another power conference opponent or an approved opponent to satisfy the requirement, however. Nebraska is currently scheduled to play old Big 12 (and Big 8) rivals Oklahoma in 2021 and 2022 and Colorado in 2023 and 2024.Nebraska has also met the power conference scheduling requirement for 2026 (Tennessee) and 2028 (Arizona). Both games are part of home-and-home arrangements.

The 2022 season is an exception for Nebraska. The Cornhuskers are scheduled to host South Dakota State, Central Michigan, and Cincinnati. The Big Ten has ruled Cincinnati to be an exception to the power conference scheduling for Nebraska. Nebraska originally scheduled a series with Cincinnati in 2013, prior to the Big Ten adopting its scheduling philosophy to increase the overall quality of strength of schedule across the conference.

Heisman winner Baker Mayfield among 14 to earn unanimous All-American honors

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In order to be considered a unanimous All-American by the NCAA, a college football player needs to earn first-team needs from all five of the following organizations: the Associated Press, the American Football Coaches Association, the Football Writers Association of America, the Sporting News, and the Walter Camp Football Foundation.  With the release of the AFCA team Wednesday, a total of 14 players have been accorded unanimous All-American honors for the 2017 season.

Heading that pack, unsurprisingly, is Oklahoma quarterback and 2017 Heisman Trophy winner Baker Mayfield.  Since those five organizations were established as the criteria in 2002, Mayfield becomes the sixth quarterback to earn that honor, joining Louisville’s Lamar Jackson (2016), Oregon’s Marcus Mariota (2014), Texas’ Colt McCoy (2009), Ohio State’s Troy Smith (2006) and Oklahoma’s Jason White (2003).   Prior to White, the last quarterback named a unanimous All-American was Charlie Ward of Florida State in 1993.

Of the 14 unanimous All-Americans this season — there were the same number in 2016 — exactly half came from Oklahoma (three), Iowa (two) and Texas (two).

Below are the remaining baker’s dozen (no pun intended) unanimous All-Americans:

  • Oklahoma tight end Mark Andrews
  • Oklahoma offensive lineman Orlando Brown Jr.
  • North Carolina State defensive lineman Bradley Chubb
  • Texas punter Michael Dickson
  • Texas defensive back DeShon Elliott
  • Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick
  • Iowa defensive back Josh Jackson
  • Iowa linebacker Josey Jewell
  • Stanford running back Bryce Love
  • Notre Dame offensive lineman Quenton Nelson
  • Ohio State offensive lineman Billy Price
  • Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith
  • Oklahoma State wide receiver James Washington