Sunday, July 03, 2022

Remember the Alamo Bowl: Bram Kohlhausen and TCU's Epic Comeback by Jim Reeves

Remember the Alamo Bowl: Bram Kohlhausen's Epic TCU ComebackRemember the Alamo Bowl: Bram Kohlhausen's Epic TCU Comeback by Jim Reeves
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Straight-forward and wonderfully told, humble with all the warts.

The 2016 Alamo Bowl game between TCU and Oregon was one for the record books, with TCU overcoming one of the largest deficits in bowl game history to attain a victory. With a 31-0 score at halftime, the sportscasters had all but turned out the lights at the Alamodome on TCU's chances to win that game. But the Horned Frogs team that came back on the field for the second half had decided they weren't ready to lie down and give up. And leading the way was TCU senior quarterback Bram Kohlhausen. Relieved to find he still had the coaching staff's confidence, he put the frustrating first half behind him and led the Frogs to an amazing comeback victory in triple overtime. Remember the Alamo Bowl is Bram's story.

I liked that the author begins Bram's story as the miserable first half of the game concludes. Bram is disheartened, and the Horned Frogs are devastated by their performance and are returning to the locker room. The author succeeds in placing us right there with the team and coaches. The insights from the players, including Bram, his family, and friends, were honest and heartbreaking, especially with the ever-present shadow of the disgraced Trevone Boykin hovering in the midst. It was easy to feel the excitement of the time, even all these years later, as each one recounted their thoughts and participation. You could still hear the wonder in the comments at what the Horned Frogs accomplished that night.

The story goes back to Bram Kohlhausen's childhood and early success in high school football, and he is open and forthcoming about how he handled all the attention he received, becoming the big man on campus. I especially enjoyed his brothers' contributions to the story and could easily relate to his mother. The loss of his father in the months leading up to the bowl game was heart-wrenching. Bram takes ownership of things that didn't go well in his college football journey, partly due to his own decisions, actions, and choices but not all. Still, there was no finger-pointing.

The events leading up to Bram replacing Boykin in the Alamo Bowl, his first start as a quarterback for TCU, are covered from start to finish. I felt I better understood what went down in San Antonio back then. It was such an avoidable tragedy for his friend and teammate, and I could feel the brotherhood in that Horned Frog team.

I have watched this game a couple of times since the live airing, and the recounting of the plays in the book was still exciting. Reading this, I knew what would happen, and I was still caught up in the same emotions I felt during the actual game.

I highly recommend REMEMBER THE ALAMO BOWL to readers who enjoy sports books, underdog stories, and most of all, TCU fans, especially those who watched or experienced that game.

I voluntarily reviewed this after receiving an Advanced Review Copy from NetGalley.

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