TCU punched Ole Miss, and the idea of the SEC dominance, square in the mouth Wednesday. I hate to even say both in the same sentence; because they beat Ole Miss not the SEC. But if you’re Arkansas, and you’re going to chant S-E-C, no matter how stupid that may be, non-SECers get make fun of your conference when you lose your New Years Six games and Playoff game (Auburn losing to Wisconsin was just a bonus). Going forward in college football, and the pool of talent sprawling out to teams like Oregon, TCU, and Baylor; the Frogs’ blowout win was a statement and taste for the future.
The defense just…
Wow. The narrative was supposed to go like this; a chess match between a great offense (TCU) and a nearly perfect defense (Ole Miss). A nearly perfect defense that--as they No. 1 scoring defense in the country-- allowed only 166 points all year. But lest the world forget, the Horned Frogs cut their teeth on defense the past 14 years. The numbers are there; 120 passing yards, 7 rushing yards--56 total yards and four first downs in the first half. But even the numbers don’t tell the whole story; nor did the LandShark gestures--that the Frogs pried from the Rebels and made their own--; nor was it the early interception by Chris Hackett; nor was it the pick 6 in the endzone. It was all of it. This was the best defensive game TCU has ever played. That’s not hyperbole. I’ve never seen a Horned Frog defense attack so confidently and successfully.
The 2014 defense played perfectly on Wednesday. That’s the only way to put it. And while the offense certainly did their part, it was the suffocating defense that sealed the win.
The offense was amazing too
Doug Meacham and Sonny Cumbie never let up. The 2 and 6 double-pass from Boykin to Kolby Listenbee to Aaron Green, set the tone for the rest of the game for TCU’s offense. The confidence the offense shares with each other is also unlike anything I’ve ever seen on a Frog team. And here’s what impressed me most; despite interceptions, Meacham and Cumbie kept calling for the killshot. That’s how much confidence they have. I was watching the game with a couple friends who didn’t go to TCU and they--and even some of the ones that did go to TCU--thought Listenbee’s catch at the 1-yard line was intercepted. However, despite double coverage, Listenbee came down with the catch. But was it really that shocking or surprsing? It’s how TCU beat Texas on offense--by throwing floaters to Josh Doctson and knowing he had the physical prowess to come down with it.
Paul Dawson and Marcus Mallet
Probably as dirty of a linebacker combo as a Gary Patterson defense has ever produced, the 2014 bash brothers, who accumulated 236 total tackles, didn't get nearly enough attention (Nationally) as they should’ve. They’ll be missed. Severely.
Godspeed You! Sam Carter
Truly the soul of the team, Sam Carter led TCU through the hardest part of the Gary Patterson-era. Battered and bruised after 2013's disaster of a season, there's little justice I can do in explaining how integral Sam was to lifting this team back up this season. Truly, truly one of a kind.
David Porter, the understated Captain Clutch.
This year it wasn't hard to get lost in conversation when talking about TCU's wide receivers. David Porter, Boykin's most underrated target was there we needed him most; when everyone was double-covering Doctson or Listenbee. There's not a lot of glamour in catching short passes for first downs, but there's certainly some glory and definitely respect.
Cliff Murphy, showing us what a tight end is
Murphy was more of a blocking tight end, and fullback in TCU's new offense. But of his two receptions, he did get a receiving touchdown, which for TCU, is pretty damn cool. Few guys worked as hard as Murphy this year, and he went even more unoticed than Porter--despite being a very important strand in the offensive fabric.
Frogs SZN: Boykin will be one of the faces of college football next year
He didn’t play perfectly--but he, and the rest of the offense stayed aggressive. When they missed a drive, they came back on the next one and scored. And credit the Ole Miss secondary for having the big plays on lockdown, but Boykin proved Wednesday why he’s one of the most exciting players in college, and Heisman frontrunner going into 2015.
He’s a damn superstar. Get used it.
2nd and 8th
After their final game, the Horned Frogs finished the season with the No. 2 scoring offense in the country and the No. 8 scoring defense in the country.
Next Year and Beyond
We’ll get into a "Thing We’d Like to See Next Year" post, but Wednesday gave us a little tease at what’s ahead. The bad news; no Dawson, Mallett, Sam Carter, or Kevin White on defense. The good news? Gary churns out linebackers (finally a permanent place for Jordan Moore?)--we’ll never have to worry about that. The secondary, led by vets; Chris Hackett and Derrick Kindred, and a more experienced; Ranthony Texada--who may very well be TCU’s most improved player--Kenny Iloka, Corry O’Meally, and Nick Orr.
And the offense returns just about everybody.
It's safe to say this season was pretty damn magical.