1. The difference in quarterback in this game became apparent very soon. Bram Kohlhausen got the start, and Oregon tested him immediately. A third-down blitz on the opening possession forced Kohlhausen to get rid of the ball, which he did, but Kolby Listenbee couldn’t catch up to it with his break inside. They had one day of practice this week. It shows up in situations like that. And on TCU’s second possession, Kohlhausen elected to scramble away from third-down pressure and had his pass knocked away.
2. Vernon Adams of Oregon, meanwhile, looked like the veteran playmaker Oregon has enjoyed for months. He was sacked on the opening possession, but on his two chances with the ball, he couldn’t be brought down. He scrambled away from pressure on each drive, and operated a fast-moving offense quicker than TCU could react. Since he got healthy, Oregon has won six straight.
3. KaVontae Turpin got a handoff on each of the first two TCU possessions. He caught a pass on the third. That’s a good idea. Without Trevone Boykin and Josh Doctson, he is the Frogs’ top playmaker. He was second on the team in catches and touchdown catches. He has to be the quarterback’s best friend in this game. He had two catches for 53 yards and five carries for 16 yards by the middle of the second quarter.
4. Oregon gained 170 yards and scored on drives of 81, 79 and 84 yards in the first quarter. The Frogs’ 21-0 deficit after 15 minutes can’t be blamed entirely on missing their quarterback. After forcing a three-and-out on the opening possession, the TCU defense succumbed to the scrambling of Vernon Adams, the power of running back Royce Freeman and the acrobatics of the Oregon receivers. It sure looked like a team TCU is familiar with.
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5. Gary Patterson’s worst bowl loss at TCU is 28-9 to Texas A&M in the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl way back on Dec. 28, 2001. It was only his second bowl as head coach with the Frogs. The other losses have been by only 1, 3 and 7 points (twice). TCU’s worst bowl loss ever is 34-0 to Oklahoma A&M in the 1945 Cotton Bowl. So that’s going way back. The worst regular season loss came on Sept. 18, 2004, to 70-35 Texas Tech and Sonny Cumbie.