In his latest work of sports reportage, former Fort Worth Star-Telegram columnist Reeves recounts one of the greatest comebacks in the modern history of college football.
On Jan. 2, 2016, Texas Christian University’s powerhouse Horned Frogs football team was preparing to face the University of Oregon Ducks in the nationally televised Alamo Bowl. TCU’s chances were good: Their starting quarterback, Trevone Boykin, was one of the best in the school’s history and a Heisman Trophy candidate. Then, three days before the game, Boykin was arrested for punching a San Antonio cop during a brawl at the city’s River Walk. With Boykin suspended, the team had no choice but to turn to his backup, a walk-on senior named Bram Kohlhausen who hadn’t started a single game in his college career. The day of the bowl was cold and rainy, and by halftime, Oregon was beating TCU 31-0. Head coach Gary Patterson assembled the team—and his panicking quarterback—for a pep talk, but “the only thing on Bram’s mind at that moment was the dawning realization that his college career was over.” Little did Bram know that he was about to lead TCU in one of the most incredible comebacks in bowl history, forcing triple overtime and becoming a legend in the school’s storied football program. Reeves recounts the events in the gripping prose of a practiced storyteller, capturing the psychologies of the individuals involved as well as that of the audience at large: “It wasn’t until the Frogs’ offense trotted out for the first series of the second half that fans in the stands realized Bram Kohlhausen was still in at quarterback. There was an audible rumble as this realization sank into the collective consciousness. This guy again?” Reeves unspools the backstory of Bram—who interestingly, was named after Bram Stoker, the famed author of Dracula, which his mother was reading while pregnant with him—and recounts his unlikely rise to prominence. Even readers who have no affiliation with TCU will find themselves caught up in this tale of triumph.
A deeply reported and well-told account of a legendary day on the gridiron.