TCU

Christmas in San Antonio: TCU Horned Frogs headed back to Alamo Bowl

TCU quarterback Kenny Hill and co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie react on the sideline after John Diarse’s catch in the end zone was ruled a touchdown during the second quarter of the Big 12 championship game Saturday at AT&T Stadium.
TCU quarterback Kenny Hill and co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie react on the sideline after John Diarse’s catch in the end zone was ruled a touchdown during the second quarter of the Big 12 championship game Saturday at AT&T Stadium. mfaulkner@star-telegram.com

It’s another South Texas holiday season for TCU. The last one was fun.

The Big 12 runner-up Horned Frogs accepted an invitation Sunday to play in the Alamo Bowl in San Antonio, where two years ago they played in one of the most spectacular games in bowl history.

The Frogs will meet Pac-12 runner-up Stanford (9-4) in the Dec. 28 game, with an 8 p.m. kickoff at the Alamodome.

“We’re very excited and appreciative to be returning to San Antonio for the Valero Alamo Bowl,” Gary Patterson said in a statement. “(Valero Alamo Bowl President/CEO) Derrick Fox and his staff do a great job with hospitality. Being in San Antonio is also a positive for us in recruiting and our fans being able to make the trip. Stanford is an outstanding football team and will be a great challenge. We’re looking forward to the opportunity to win our 11th game, sending our seniors out on a high note and building momentum for our off-season program and next year.”

TCU (10-3) is coming off a 41-17 loss to Oklahoma in the Big 12 championship game on Saturday. The Frogs are 3-3 in their last six games after a 7-0 start that prompted College Football Playoff hopes.

“We will play an opponent that is very physical and plays the game the right way,” Patterson said. “I’m looking forward to getting back on the winning track.”

However, they still put together a third double-digit win season in four years and will be aiming for their second 11-win season in three years.

Stanford and Heisman hopeful running back Bryce Love fell in the Pac-12 title game to USC on Friday.

“We are so excited and so grateful to go to the Alamo Bowl,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “Excited to see Gary Patterson and [his wife] Kelsey again. Gary is one of the best coaches in America. Excited for this opportunity to play this game against a great team in a great venue. I can’t wait to get there.”

The Frogs and Cardinal are due to arrive in San Antonio on Dec. 22, with the first practices scheduled Dec. 23.

All-time, TCU is 15-16-1 in bowl games following last season’s loss to Georgia in the Liberty Bowl.

But the Frogs have won 11 of their past 17 appearances, beginning with a Dec. 31, 1998, Sun Bowl victory against USC in Gary Patterson’s first season as defensive coordinator on the TCU sideline.

Since then, the Frogs have played in the Mobile Alabama Bowl twice, the Galleryfurniture.com Bowl, the Liberty Bowl twice, the Fort Worth Bowl, Houston Bowl, Poinsettia Bowl three times, Texas Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Rose Bowl, Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl and Peach Bowl.

“Our mindset is to keep grinding,” Patterson said. “We are excited how our season has turned out and excited about the Alamo Bowl and facing a really, really good team in Stanford.”

Stanford is 14-13-1 in its bowl history, including three straight victories, most recently a 25-23 victory against North Carolina in the Sun Bowl on Dec. 30, 2016. This will be Stanford’s first time at the Alamo Bowl.

“The biggest thing to say about our football team... we started off the year 1-2 with a lot of doubts, a lot of naysayers,” Shaw said. “But inside the program our guys got back to work. We are unbelievably resilient. To start 1-2 and win right of our last nine ... that says a lot about our character and toughness. Bryce Love epitomizes that, playing the last month of the season on one ankle.”

The Frogs’ appearance in the Alamo Bowl on Jan. 2, 2016 goes down as one of the most memorable in the game’s history and their own.

They trailed Oregon 31-0 at halftime before mounting a comeback behind backup quarterback Bram Kohlhausen — making his first and last start in his TCU career — and winning 47-41 in three overtimes. It tied for the largest comeback in bowl history.

The Frogs set school records for points in a bowl game (47), yards in a bowl game (545), passing yards in a bowl game (371) and passing attempts in a bowl game (47).

Kohlhausen’s 28 completions, 45 attempts and 351 passing yards were all TCU bowl records.

Carlos Mendez: 817-390-7760, @calexmendez

Alamo Bowl

TCU (10-3) vs. Stanford (9-4)

8 p.m. Dec. 28, ESPN

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