Alamo Bowl Grades: TCU takes advantage after Adams injury
Here are the top takeaways and highest-graded players from TCU’s 47-41 win over Oregon.
– Oregon led 28-0 when QB Vernon Adams (+3.8) was knocked out of the game with an injury, and they would score just three points in the rest of regulation. The decline in offensive production without Adams was significant for Oregon this season, and this game was no exception. Despite their strong rushing production, the Ducks were unable to move the ball with QB Jeff Lockie (-1.2) and it ultimately cost them the game.
– The offensive game plan changed drastically once Adams left the game. Adams completed five of eight passes for 122 yards, one touchdown and a +3.5 grade on passes thrown 10+ yards, while Lockie attempted just three such passes, all of which fell incomplete. While some of those decisions can likely be attributed to the Ducks trying to protect their lead, opening up the offense to involve some of their playmakers at wide receiver may have been a better decision in hindsight.
– The Ducks’ run blocking was outstanding in this game. The team combined for a +11.6 grade in that area, and seven players earned green grades (+1.0 or above). Doug Brenner led the team with a +2.9 run-blocking grade after replacing the injured starter Matt Hegarty at center, but his inaccurate snaps led to several negative plays that were costly for the offense. HB Royce Freeman (+1.4) took full advantage of the excellent blocking in front of him, gaining 130 rushing yards (64 after contact) at 5.0 yards per carry, scoring three touchdowns and forcing nine missed tackles. Freeman ranks fourth of all NCAA running backs with a +33.4 overall grade, and forced 82 missed tackles on running plays in 2015.
– DE DeForest Buckner (+4.8) has been mentioned as a possible top-five pick in the 2016 NFL Draft, and he ended his college career with an excellent performance. Playing in 101 of 104 possible snaps, Buckner earned a team-best +4.1 pass rushing grade and added five run stops. Buckner earned a +70.0 grade in 2015, the best mark for an NCAA interior lineman, while also leading that group with 951 snaps played. He has been dominant against both the run and the pass, ranking third among NCAA 3-4 defensive ends in Pass Rushing Productivity, and fifth in Run Stop Percentage. The hype is well deserved for Buckner, as he has almost no weaknesses to his game in addition to elite size for his position.
DE DeForest Buckner (+4.8)
NT Alex Balducci (+4.2)
QB Vernon Adams (+3.8)
LG Jake Pisarcik (+2.0)
LB Joe Walker (+1.7)
– QB Bram Kohlhausen (+1.4) had a productive game, finishing 9-18 for 183 yards, two touchdowns and a +2.5 grade on passes thrown 10+ yards. While TCU’s offense was shut out in the first half, Kohlhausen led the team to a 31-point comeback in the second half. While he struggled under pressure, finishing 5-14 for 43 yards and -1.0 grade, and was sacked twice, he added 54 yards and two touchdowns on nine rushes, including the game winner in triple overtime.
– TCU clearly missed their star center Joey Hunt, who missed the game due to injury, as the team earned negative grades for both run blocking and pass protection. RG Matt Pryor (-4.8) had a tough game, allowing one hit and three hurries, and earning a team-worst -2.7 run blocking grade. C Austin Schlottman finished with a -2.2 grade as Hunt’s replacement after allowing one hit and two hurries while also grading negatively as a run blocker.
– The Horned Frogs had trouble containing Oregon’s rushing attack, especially in the first half. TCU earned a -10.9 run defense grade as a team, combined to miss 15 tackles, and five players earned red grades in that category. DT Davion Pierson earned a -4.0 overall grade, and a -3.5 run defense. LB Ty Summers (+1.6) was one of the few players to grade well against the run, recording five stops and adding a sack and hit as a pass rusher.
DE Terrell Lathan (+6.1)
RT Halapoulivaati Vaitai (+2.2)
SS Denzel Johnson (+1.8)
LB Ty Summers (+1.6)
QB Bram Kohlhausen (+1.4)