With offense just Peachy, Frogs defense suffocating Rebels
How dominant has TCU been in the first half of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl vs. Ole Miss? Let me count the ways, if for nothing more than the benefit of the College Football Playoff committee.
In rolling out to a 28-0 lead that must seem double that to the other side, the Horned Frogs did something that only two teams this season, Auburn and Arkansas, were able to accomplish against the Rebels defense: score more than 20 points in a game, and they’ve done it in just two frenetic quarters of play. The most points they’ve given up in a single game this season, 35 in the loss to Auburn, is certainly in jeopardy.
There were trick plays aplenty for Gary Patterson‘s offense, with one of them, a double-pass, leading directly to a 31-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Kolby Listenbee for the first points of the game. Trevone Boykin, who continues to astound as one of the most improved players in the country at any position, completed 16-of-22 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown. He added 38 yards on the ground, but did throw two really bad interceptions.
It was TCU’s defense, though, that was the most impressive of the first half for either side.
Ole Miss was limited to just 68 yards of total offense in the first half, including five yards rushing on 20 carries. Quarterback Bo Wallace was turned into Really, Really, Really Bad Dr. Bo, completing 5-of-13 passes for 63 yards and three of interceptions, the last of which was a “pick-six.”
Wallace was sacked five times, and nearly a sixth late the second quarter that would’ve resulted in a safety. And nearly a seventh on the same series on a play that, instead of a safety, resulted in a Wallace pass from the end zone being intercepted in the end zone by defensive lineman James McFarland for a touchdown. You could state, and would not get an argument from me, that it was the single ugliest interception in the history of the sport of football.
But wait, there’s more. Ole Miss managed just four first downs, and was 2-9 on third down conversions. Two of those first downs, as well as 41 yards of offense and both third-down conversions, came on the last drive of the half. And one of the sacks taken by Wallace knocked the Rebels out of field-goal range at the end of that drive.
Adding proverbial insult to literal injury -- standout offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil went down with what looked like a severe leg injury -- was this...
TCU DT Davion Pierson just threw up the “Landsharks” sign. Ole Miss fans in the Georgia Dome didn’t like that one bit.— Zac E. (@rzacellis) December 31, 2014
Yes, it’s been that kind of a half for Ole Miss.