COLUMN: Thorough

ATLANTA, GA - The first 30 minutes of the Peach Bowl was all TCU as the Horned Frogs rolled to a 28-0 intermission advantage over Ole Miss. The Rebs did very little right and TCU did very little wrong, thus, the lopsided score and hapless look the Rebels displayed. It was a thorough beating.

If I hadn't seen it with my own eyes, I wouldn't have believed it.

There was no question the Ole Miss Rebels drew a tough opponent in the TCU Horned Frogs for the Peach Bowl here Wednesday afternoon, but nobody expected the Big 12 co-champions to render the SEC contingent from Mississippi impotent.

That may, however, be the best way to describe it - impotent. Maybe anemic, maybe lethargic. No, impotent fits better.

And it only took 30 minutes to do it. . .

Let's take a look, if you can stand to.

Let this sink in - the Rebels received the opening kickoff and were down 7-0 with 14:00 to go in the first quarter without a pick six or fumble return. Yes, you read that correctly.

QB Bo Wallace threw his first of three picks in the opening half and TCU scored in two plays, the capper being a lateral pass to a wide receiver who threw to a streaking running back for a 31-yard TD.

After a three-and-out on their next possession, TCU - going super fast tempo - drove 78 yards and scored on a 15-yard run up the gut. Along the way, they converted a fourth-and-one with an 8-yard pass to show their seriousness about the game.

There was 6:23 to go in the first quarter and TCU had already scored more points against the Landshark defense than they had been averaging giving up for full games the whole year. Let that marinate for a minute.

While the pace slowed down a little, it still didn't get any better for the contingent from Oxford.

Bo was intercepted two more times in the first half, once in his own end zone for a TCU score, and was sacked so many times I lost count, I'm guessing six, but don't have the desire to look it up. When the OL did give him time, which was rare, TCU's secondary had the Rebel receivers covered like blankets, as if they were in the Rebel huddle and knew Ole Miss' plays.

It got so bad for the Rebel offense that the TCU defenders were throwing up the Landshark after a big play, mocking the Rebel offense.

And to add injury to insult, literally, Rebel LT Laremy Tunsil, late in the first half, went down to a broken ankle.

This was definitely a nightmare half for the Rebs and the faithful throng who came here to cheer their team on.

Unfortunately, the Rebels' woes did not end there.

TCU got the opening kickoff of the second half and scored on a long bomb when the Horned Frog receiver took the ball away from SS Trae Elston, who was in position for an interception.

Then, Wallace fumbled on a carry and TCU scored on another pass play on the first play after.

42-0.

There's no coming back from that.

The game left everyone shaking their heads in wonderment.

What just happened?

The Rebs prepared well and seemed confident and ready to play when the game started, but TCU buzzsawed them without a lot of resistance. If there had been a mercy rule, this one would have been called about five minutes into the second half.

TKO in the seventh round.

Ole Miss had no answers for TCU's defense and the vaunted Landshark defense seemed to have left their teeth in a jar by the bed.

TCU's defense controlled the Rebs' run game with a four-man front, dropping seven in coverage most of the time. The Reb wideouts were rarely open and when they were, Wallace didn't have enough time to throw.

TCU's offense seemed to confuse the Rebel defense from start to finish. As usual, they played hard - they always play hard, but this time the Horned Frogs had their number, hitting them from every angle and wherever they weren't.

The amphibians controlled both lines of scrimmage for most of the game and that was all she wrote, or needed to write.

Just getting to the Peach Bowl, now a New Year's Six bowl, in the third year of a program is a feather in the hat, so there's that.

But nobody, even TCU, expected a thorough mashing of the Rebels. It was almost as if TCU played like they had something to prove and the Rebels had already proved what they wanted.

A bitter way to end the season, but there's nothing to do about it now.

It's back to the drawing board and get the cycle started again with the winter offseason, spring ball and summer work.

There's one thing that is certain - as badly as this one turned out, it will serve as motivation for the returning guys.

No competitive athlete, or team, gets beaten that thoroughly and likes it.

But thorough it was. As thorough as it gets.


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