Bram Kohlhausen’s name will forever be etched in TCU legend despite the fact that he started only one game in his career for the Horned Frogs.
But what a start it was! Kohlhausen led TCU to the greatest comeback* in bowl game history in the 2016 Alamo Bowl against Oregon. He and his Horned Frog teammates were down 31-0 at halftime, but ended up winning 47-41 in three overtimes.
Kohlhausen’s story is more remarkable than just a second half comeback in a bowl game, though. He didn’t even find out he would be the starter until the day before the game, when the devastating news came out that starter and team leader Trevone Boykin was arrested for a bar fight the night before.
“There was a lot of shock, and a sense of overwhelming because my best friend got in trouble. It was one of those things where I didn’t really care about the game at that point, I was concerned about the well-being of a teammate,” says Kohlhausen. “After that I had to focus up and go through film. I had one practice and one walk-through to get ready.”
Kohlhausen credits quarterbacks coach and co-offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie with helping him be prepared for anything.
“He’s on us from day one in the summer making sure everybody is ready. He doesn’t let anybody sleep on preparation,” says Kohlhausen. “We all do the same tests before the games. Everybody on that roster was prepared to start.”
However, as prepared as Kohlhausen and the team may have been, they certainly looked lost in the first half against the Ducks. Kohlhausen admits that it was difficult to get into the game at first, but at halftime they realized that the game was not lost yet.
“We went through every drive and play and realized that the only bad play we had was the interception. We were moving the ball, we just had a lot of penalties,” says Kohlhausen. “We knew we didn’t have a 31-point play, but we had to chip away three and seven points at a time. All I wanted to do was score that first drive.”
Kohlhausen’s remarkable story doesn’t end with just a great comeback in a bowl game, it got even more emotional when his thoughts turned to his family. Kohlhausen lost his father on November 7, 2015 after a long fight with melanoma. After the big comeback, he searched and searched for his family, but had more trouble than usual finding them.
“I actually borrowed an equipment guy’s cell phone to try to call my mom. I couldn’t find her. Next thing I know, she’s standing behind me,” says Kohlhausen. “My older brother Dash had bargained with someone for their on-field pass and got her on the field.”
Kohlhausen knows his football days are over, and he has 18 more hours left to complete his degree. After that, he plans to travel before joining the work force. But he will carry the lessons he learned from his football career, which started at Houston, before taking him to Los Angeles Harbor College, and finally TCU, with him wherever he goes.
“It’s always about moving forward and having a short memory. If I let the Houston experience settle in me I would have a sour taste about football. I looked past that and found some positivity,” says Kohlhausen. “Looking forward in life and having a short memory always helps.”
Kohlhausen is looking forward to the next chapter in his life, but if he’s lucky, and his future employers are Horned Frogs fans, he should hope they don’t have a short memory about this game.
*TCU’s 31-point comeback is tied with Texas Tech’s 31-point comeback in the 2006 Insight Bowl against Minnesota.