Not long ago in the Alamo Bowl, TCU needed a second half comeback of epic proportions to beat a Pac-12 foe. The hole isn’t quite as big for the 15th-ranked Horned Frogs this time around than it was against Oregon (31 points) two seasons ago but Gary Patterson’s team still has their work cut out for them as they trail No. 13 Stanford 21-10 at halftime in San Antonio.
It wasn’t for a lack of trying by TCU either, as they seemed to reach into their bag of tricks with not a ton to play for in the grand scheme of things. That included a fake punt on the team’s first drive (which failed) and a trick kick return in the first quarter that had a man lying in the end zone before receiving a pass (it was called back on a flag). Quarterback Kenny Hill wasn’t super sharp early on, tossing a truly dreadful interception that later set up a Cardinal touchdown and finishing with only 71 yards passing. He did seem to get things going right before the break though and ran in the team’s only touchdown of the half as time was winding down.
The Horned Frogs rushing attack was also kept in check and had just 47 yards going into the locker room. Perhaps most surprisingly, one of the Big 12’s best defenses looked pretty mortal against an offense that has struggled at times to move the ball and are breaking in a new offensive coordinator in the game.
A healthy ankle makes all the difference in the world though as Bryce Love looked in midseason form after nearly a month of rest. The Heisman runner-up powered into the end zone for a score with a pair of defenders on his back and finished with 57 yards on the ground. His mere presence seemed to loosen up the defense as signal-caller K.J. Costello looked very sharp in throwing for 86 yards and a pair of touchdowns — both not surprisingly to his favorite target in mammoth wideout JJ Arcega-Whiteside.
We’ve had some fun Alamo Bowl finishes over the years and given how good both sides are (and their head coaches are at making adjustments) we could be in store for another classic the way things have trended so far.