TCU came out and had a point to prove.
The Horned Frogs did just that in the Peach Bowl with a dominating win over Ole Miss, which defeated both of the SEC participants in the “New Year’s Six.”
While being left out of the playoff along with conference-mate Baylor, one had to wonder if TCU would show any signs of a hangover. This was far from the case, as the Frogs backed up a Gary Patterson quote on Dec. 7 that read: “We want to prove that we were a team that should have been in the playoff.” Very simple, but very true.
The Horned Frogs came out and established dominance early and often. After a Bo Wallace interception, which happened about as often as a Chick-fil-A reference during the contest, it took TCU only a pair of plays to score on some trickeration for a quick 7-0 lead.
Each time a spectator of this game looked up, the scoreboard was lighting up again… a common trend for TCU games this season. The only thing that kept the Frogs from winning the game by even more was a gaggle of mistakes the TCU offense committed in the first half, including a pair of Trevone Boykin interceptions.
TCU dissected Ole Miss, which entered the game with the nation’s No. 1 scoring defense, for nearly the entire 60 minutes… and that’s only because the Horned Frogs put backups in for the final half of the fourth quarter. The Rebels were allowing just 13.8 points per game coming in. It took TCU just one minute to crack into the scoring column for the first time, and it just never stopped. The speed of the Horned Frogs offense was just too much all day long.
While the contest was not the strongest effort by Boykin on the season, he has to enter next season as a top contender for the Heisman, along with your pick of SEC running backs. With the amount of talent the Horned Frogs bring back on offense, there is no evidence that Boykin will have any downslide.
On the opposite side of the field was Bo Wallace, whose up and down season was capped by a downer in the Peach Bowl. Just as TCU set the tone early, Wallace did for the Rebels as well… but to the opposite end of the spectrum.
Wallace’s performance in the bowl was a perfect microcosm of the Ole Miss season. Once Laquon Treadwell went down with a knee injury for the season on the final play of the Auburn game, the Rebels did not have much semblance of an offense.
However, the problems on defense were just as big as the issues with the ball. Ole Miss had not allowed more than 41 points in its past 35 games. TCU had already scored 42 points just three minutes into the third quarter.
This game also exposed the Rebels as a road- or neutral-field team this season. In its final 12 quarters away from Oxford to close the season, Ole Miss was outscored, 82-10.
The loss broke a six-game bowl winning streak for the Rebels, which tied Florida State for the longest active streak in the nation.
However, the story of the game was the utter dominance of the Horned Frogs, who made a serious statement: If it comes down to putting them in the playoff or leaving them out again next year, the decision will be easy.