As 2016 comes to an end - mercifully for some, sadly for others - those of us that are a part of the Frog Fam have plenty to look back on fondly when it comes to TCU Athletics. Despite a down year in football, it was an exceptional year overall for TCU Sports, as several programs made the post-season, with tons of memorable games to get them there. Today, we look back at the top ten games of the year, in chronological order.
Frogs complete 31 point comeback to stun Oregon in the Alamo Bowl (January 2nd):
It was a game for the ages, a testament to the will of a group of seniors who had won more games in their time on campus than any other group to ever come through. Having seen their all-star QB dismissed before the game, their all-star WR out injured, and the game in the hands of a walk-on, few fans had hope when the Frogs fell behind by 31 points at the half. But a Jaden Oberkrom field goal early in the third started something that TCU wouldn’t stop until they took their final lead in Triple-OT, and what could have been a throwaway game became historical. Bram Kohlhausen became a cult hero, and the enduring image of him doing the “feed me” celebration is burned into the minds of TCU and Oregon players for all time.
TCU Basketball Beats Texas (January 9th):
Trent Johnson’s reign was soon to come to an end, but before he was shown the door - to make room for the homecoming of Jamie Dixon - he pulled off one last upset in Fort Worth. Texas would finish the season in the NCAA Tournament, but at the time they were 1-1 in the early stages of Big 12 play. It would be Chris Washburn’s night, as his deep two gave the Frogs the lead with just seconds remaining, and his block on the other end sealed the win. The two programs are heading in very different trajectories today, and will meet for the first time this year on January 11th in Austin.
Women’s Basketball Upsets Oklahoma State, Medley Sets Three-Point Mark (February 20th):
She is one of the legends of women’s hoops in Fort Worth, and now has the title of sharpest marksman to prove it. Her 20 point output against #17 Oklahoma State not only gave her TCU’s three-point record, but led her team to the biggest victory of the Reagan Pebley era. So far.
Frogs beat No. 17 Oklahoma State on record setting day for Zahna Medley pic.twitter.com/43qFTBprDH— TCU WomensBasketball (@TCUWbasketball) February 20, 2016
Men’s Tennis Beats #36 LSU to Make NCAA Sweet 16 (May 14th):
Dave Roditi is making magic happen at TCU’s beautiful tennis center, and he’s building a powerhouse in the process. His 2016 team had a solid mix of veterans and young talent, and a couple of stars that helped them reach the Sweet 16 in 2016. As they mowed through their schedule, they rose to as high as #4 in the national rankings, led by Cameron Norrie and Alex Rybakov. Though the win over LSU would be the last of the season, as they would fall to Cal a match later, it was an unbelievable season for a program that is becoming one of the top in the country, and building one of the best home court advantages in the process.
Ronnie Baker and Brianna McGhee Win Big 12 100m Titles (May 15th):
The 100m race has long been the determinate of ‘fastest man in the world’, and for a year, that title resides in Fort Worth. Ronnie Baker, one of many highly decorated athletes to come through TCU’s outstanding track program, edged out his toughest competition by a single hundredth of a second to bring the gold to the Frogs and earn himself the title of fastest man with a time of 10.15 seconds. Baker would later set the world’s fastest time in the 60m race, with a blazing 6.47.
Just moments later, his teammate Brianna McGhee would duplicate his gold-medal winning feat, staking her claim as one of the greatest athletes in the country, winning the 100m hurdles with 13.14 second race.
TCU wins the Big 12 Tournament championship (May 29th):
True freshman Luken Baker was one of the most hyped players to ever enter the program, and the big kid from down south did not disappoint in his first season in the lineup. While he didn’t quite find his power stroke early, he came on in a big way when it mattered most, mashing his way through the postseason in a way never before seen by the boys in purple. One of his biggest bombs was in the championship game of the Big 12 Tournament, a back and forth affair with WVU that saw the Frogs jump out to a big lead only to fall behind late. TCU jumped out to an 8-0 advantage, as first baseman Michael Landestoy hit his first home run of the year, but a Mountaineer team, which needed the title to secure a post-season berth, wouldn’t go away. They scored three in the third, three in the fourth, and after TCU struck for another run in the fifth, took their first lead of the game with four of their own. TCU would tie things up in the top of the ninth, and in the tenth, mighty Baker came to bat, and launched one into the sign in deep left field, giving TCU a lead they would not relinquish.
OMG HE DID IT AGAIN!!! Luken Baker gives the Frogs a lead with a home run to left. Unreal. pic.twitter.com/FGNpVOryZO— Frogs O' War (@FrogsOWar) May 29, 2016
Brian Howard Dominates the Aggies to Send TCU to the College World Series (June 12th):
Most remember this game for its final act - the slow, deliberate thumbs down issued by Durbin Feltman. But not to be lost in the celebration was the work of Brian Howard, as the big lefty absolutely dominated a dangerous Aggie lineup for seven innings in the series clinching game at Bleu Bell Park. In his seven innings of work, he struck out eight Aggie hitters, while allowing two hits and surrendering two walks.
It was an odd, error-filled game, but Howard never wavered in his confidence or his calmness, despite the every pitch pressure of a one run contest. At the end, it was the lanky righty who stood tallest, stone-walling A&M and sending his team to their third straight College World Series. And... oh, by the way... he’s back for his senior season.
Baker, Frogs Stun Texas Tech in Omaha (June 19th):
Baker Bombs make multiple posts, because his eight post-season home runs are some of the more enduring images of the year. While he had more than made a name for himself in Fort Worth throughout the season, he was still a bit of an unknown on the national scene, that is until he took over the opening round of the College World Series.
The Red Raiders had looked dominant in their three game series in Fort Worth earlier in the year, beating the Frogs in two out of three games and winning the regular season title in the process. When the longtime rivals were matched up in the opening game of the CWS, it was of no doubt that the sparks (or water ) were going to fly, as it was clear the two programs didn’t care much for each other. The Red Raiders struck first, pushing across a run in the bottom of the third against Jared Janczak, which the Frogs would answer in the top of the fourth. TCU would take the lead with another run in the fifth, but Tech would match it to tie things up in the bottom of the frame. Texas Tech took the lead in the eighth off of Hunter Hargrove’s double, and with TCU down to their final two outs, Luken Baker came to the plate with two runners on board. Then this happened:
Durbin Feltman came in and struck out two to earn the save, and the Frogs advanced to the winners bracket. Baker will have huge expectations on his massive shoulders this spring, but he has proven he can manage just fine under scrutiny.
Volleyball Knocks Off #8 North Carolina (September 17th):
Though Jamie Dixon’s homecoming has been the bigger story nation-wide, Coach Jill Kramer’s return to Fort Worth was just as a big a boon for her program. One of the biggest wins of her first two years on campus came this fall, when the Frogs upset a top-ten UNC team in Fort Worth.
Having signed the highest rated recruiting class to come to TCU, Kramer helped steer her team to a big upset of a unit that had swept them just a few days prior on their home court, as tehy stormed back after dropping the opening set to win three out of the next four and take the win. Ashley Smith and Regan McGuire led the team with 15 and 14 kills respectively, and Sarita Mikals was key on defense with 19 digs. It set off a season that ended with a second consecutive NCAA Tournament bid.
Frogs dominate Baylor in Waco, win by 40 (November 5th):
Hawk said it well earlier this week, but in the midst of a season that was not up to the standards TCU fans are used to holding, the salve applied by humiliating Baylor on their home field in a game that was used by a group of fans to try and canonize their fired coach, was healing for an entire nation disgusted by what they were seeing in Waco.
Baylor struck first in their typical fashion, as Seth Russell tossed a deep ball to complete a two play touchdown drive. Kenny Hill and Taj Williams answered right back, and it appeared the teams would be in for another back and forth affair. But the moment TCU corner Ranthony Texada stepped in front of a Russell pass and took it to the house, the game was over. Kyle Hicks had a career-defining effort, scoring five touchdowns and rushing for 192 yards. Hill was at his best, running all over the Bears and keeping plays alive long enough to complete passes to eight different receivers. The TCU defense swarmed for four quarters, and BU couldn’t do much until garbage time. It was an out-and-out rout, and for a day, the Frogs were national treasures.
Do you have a favorite game or think we missed out on something? Be sure to let us know in the comments!