Since 2005, 10 Valero Alamo Bowls have not been decided until the final minutes. The 2017 Valero Alamo Bowl was no different as #15 TCU held on in the final minutes to win 39-37 against #13 Stanford.
The Horned Frogs now hold the first and second largest comebacks in Valero Alamo Bowl history, overcoming a 21-3 first-half deficit this year against Stanford and a 31-point deficit at halftime against Oregon two years ago in a thrilling triple overtime win.
Stanford controlled the ball in the first half, including a 15-yard run from running back and Heisman finalist Bryce Love in the first quarter and two touchdown passes from quarterback KJ Costello to wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside to take a 21-3 lead at the half.
TCU stormed back in the second half behind big plays from quarterback Kenny Hill, who won Valero Alamo Bowl offensive MVP honors, and a 76-yard punt return from receiver Desmon White, which broke a Valero Alamo Bowl record.
In the fourth consecutive Top 15 matchup in Valero Alamo Bowl history, TCU receiver Jalen Reagor racked up 169 receiving yards, third-best in Valero Alamo Bowl history, and recorded another Valero Alamo Bowl record 93-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter.
Stanford’s Bryce Love rushed for 145 yards and had a 69-yard touchdown run in the third quarter, while Costello and Arcega-Whiteside connected for a third touchdown pass in the fourth quarter giving Stanford a 37-36 lead with 6:42 on the clock.
TCU’s Cole Bunce’s 33-yard field goal with just over three minutes left put the Horned Frogs up 39-37 and an interception by safety Innis Gaines with two minutes left secured a TCU victory, their second Valero Alamo Bowl win in the last three years.
TCU linebacker Travin Howard earned Valero Alamo Bowl defensive MVP honors for the second time in the last three years after tallying four solo and six assisted tackles on the night.
Here’s a sampling of what people had to say about this year’s Valero Alamo Bowl:
CBS Sports writer Tom Fernelli ranked this year’s Valero Alamo Bowl as the #4 best bowl game of the season.
TCU finished the 2018 season ranked at No. 9 in the final AP College Football rankings, which is the fifth straight Valero Alamo Bowl winner to finish inside the Top 10 by season’s end.