ATLANTA — TCU played like it had a point to make in a resounding 42-3 rout of Mississippi on Wednesday in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl in the Georgia Dome.
Quarterback Trevone Boykin sliced up the Rebels’ SEC defense, and the Horned Frogs held Ole Miss to 129 yards in a performance that will have fans wondering if the best four teams really were picked by the College Football Playoff selection committee.
Heading into the final week of the regular season, the Horned Frogs were ranked No. 3 in the playoff rankings. They blew out Iowa State 55-3, but were still jumped by conference champions Florida State and Ohio State for the final spots in the four-team playoff. TCU is No. 6 and Ole Miss No. 9 in the CFP rankings.
TCU certainly looked playoff worthy on Wednesday. The Frogs rolled from the outset and, with a bevy of returning talent, made an impressive case to be one next season’s top-tier contenders.
The bulk of the TCU offense are underclassmen, including Boykin, leading rusher Aaron Green, standout receivers Josh Doctson and Kolby Listenbee and four of five linemen.
Green scored the Frogs’ first two touchdowns, the first coming on a double-pass from Listenbee, and the second on a 15-yard run that put TCU up 14-0 with 6:23 left.
It was 28-0 after TCU defensive end James McFarland intercepted Mississippi quarterback Bo Wallace in the end zone with two minutes left in the second quarter. It was Wallace’s third interception in a nightmare first half that ended with the Rebels’ senior quarterback limping off the field after being sacked for a fifth time.
The Frogs opened the second half with a 65-yard kickoff return by Ranthony Texada and delivered an early dagger with Boykin’s 35-yard touchdown pass to Listenbee. Thirty seconds later, after another Ole Miss turnover, Boykin tossed another touchdown, this one a 27-yarder to Doctson. TCU led 42-0 heading into the fourth quarter.
For the game, Boykin, a junior, completed 22 of 31 passes for 188 yards with three touchdowns and three interceptions. He was named Offensive MVP of the game.
Mississippi defensive back Senquez Golson’s interception of Boykin led to the Rebels’ only score, a 27-yard field goal by Gary Wunderlich late in the fourth quarter.
Wallace finished 10 of 23 for 109 yards and three interceptions, a dreadful ending to an up-and-down — but overall successful — career.
Ole Miss (9-4), the only team to beat Alabama in the regular season, was in the thick of the playoff hunt through October, before back-to-back losses to LSU and Auburn derailed the Rebels’ hopes. The loss to Auburn was especially painful and was decided on a last-minute fumble on the goal line by top offensive weapon Laquon Treadwell, who broke his leg on the play and was lost for the season. The Rebels rallied to knock off rival Mississippi State in the Egg Bowl, but were no match for TCU.
TCU’s only loss this season came at Baylor in a game the Frogs (12-1) led by 24 in the fourth quarter. Many thought TCU deserved to be in playoff, but Ohio State got the nod instead. Coach Gary Patterson’s team was not deflated by missing out, though, and instead delivered a whipping to the mighty SEC.
NOTES: Ole Miss LT Laremy Tunsil, a second-team All-SEC performer, suffered a fractured fibula in his right leg and had to be carted off the field after n the second quarter. … TCU threw four touchdown passes, three from QB Trevone Boykin and one from WR Kolby Listenbee against an Ole Miss defense that allowed only eight touchdown passes the entire regular season. … Mississippi began its season in the Georgia Dome with a 35-13 win over Boise State in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Classic. Next season’s Kickoff Classic will feature Louisville and Auburn. … The Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will host a CFP semifinal four times in the next 12 years, starting in the 2016-17 season. … The 39-point margin of victory was a Chick-fil-A Bowl record. … Attendance was 65,706.