Dear all future Pac-12 opponents: If you have the chance to play TCU in the Alamo Bowl, kindly decline the invite. At the very least, give it pause.
The Horned Frogs erased a seemingly insurmountable 31-point deficit against Oregon in 2015 to beat the Ducks 47-41 in triple overtime. On Thursday, TCU pulled off a similar comeback to beat Stanford 39-37 behind a strong fourth quarter in which it outscored the Cardinal 16-6 after falling behind 21-3 in the second quarter.
The late surge came as a result of two big plays. The first was a 93-yard bomb from quarterback Kenny Hill to receiver Jalen Reagor on a simple go route that got behind the Stanford defense. That pulled the Frogs to within two points, but a failed two-point attempt kept the score at 31-29. Reagor was the team's leader with seven touchdowns in the regular season. He finished the night with five catches for 169 yards and the aforementioned score. He's absolutely a name to watch for the Biletnikoff Award for next year.
The next score for TCU came on a 76-yard punt return by Desmon White to move ahead 36-31. Though Stanford regained the lead momentarily with its own touchdown, the Frogs hit a go-ahead field goal with 3:07 left in the game.
While big plays dominated the fourth quarter, TCU really won this game by aggressively winning with its offensive line in both run blocking and pass protection. The Frogs tallied 488 yards of offense and scored on four of six second-half possessions. And though the defense didn't completely shut down Stanford running back and Heisman finalist Bryce Love -- who had 145 yards and two scores, including a 69-yard touchdown -- he left the game in the fourth quarter with a thumb injury and did not return.
The win marks the 10th season of at least 11 victories for the program under coach Gary Patterson. As far as non-blue blood coaches go, Patterson continues to prove he's up there among the best. Moving into 2018, the Frogs should once again be a trendy contender to get back to the Big 12 Championship Game.
TCU has won 40 games in four years. Only Oklahoma (42 & counting) has more among Big 12 teams. No Power 5 team in Texas has more than 31 wins in that span.— David Ubben (@davidubben) December 29, 2017