The bright side of hope: A prophetic hashtag becomes a rallying cry during TCU's stunning Alamo Bowl win
What started as a coping mechanism became a rallying cry.
Trailing 31–0 at halftime to Oregon, TCU fans were looking for anything positive to cling to during the Alamo Bowl, so they adopted a new hashtag: #brightside.
It was ironic since there didn't seem to be any kind of bright side for TCU. The Frogs were without starting quarterback Trevone Boykin, who was suspended after being arrested for allegedly punching a police officer earlier in the week. They were also without consensus All-American receiver Josh Doctson as he recovered from a wrist injury.
And now they were facing a five-score deficit.
But then a bright side began to emerge. Backup quarterback Bram Kohlhausen began making plays. After completing fewer than half of his passes in the first half, he scored four total touchdowns after halftime. There were no more senior receivers on the field, so freshmen like Shaun Nixon, Jaelan Austin and KaVontae Turpin started making big catches.
The Oregon offense, which lost starting quarterback Vernon Adams after halftime, ran 18 plays for 18 yards in the second half of regulation. The TCU defense held them without a point or a third down conversion in the third and fourth quarters.
The momentum was swinging back in TCU's direction. Perhaps it was because of the hashtag, so TCU fans knew they had to keep it up. The athletic department's official Twitter account got in on it, and it soon became a trending topic on Twitter.
But TCU had surely exhausted its allotment of miraculous wins this season. They won one game on a "divine deflection.". They beat their archrival while playing in a monsoon. It would be foolish to think they could really do this, right?
Yet at the end of regulation, the Frogs had scored 31 unanswered points and tied the game. They were going to overtime thanks to a JUCO transfer quarterback who had one previous start and an unfamiliar group of receivers.
To be in the game was a bright side in itself, but they weren't content with that. Kohlhausen accounted for two touchdowns in overtime. The young receivers stepped up and made more clutch plays. The defense held the Ducks on fourth down to end the game, and at the end of three overtimes, TCU emerged with a 47–41 win.
It was TCU's largest comeback win under Gary Patterson and matched the biggest comeback win in any bowl game in the history of college football. It started as a joke, but by the end of the night, TCU had given fans quite the bright side to look at in its final game of the season.
Matt Jennings is SI's campus correspondent for TCU. Follow him on Twitter.