By John Davis, Oxford Citizen
Ole Miss will be facing one of the top overall offenses in the nation on New Year’s Eve in the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
TCU’s Horned Frogs, ranked No. 6 in the final College Football Playoff rankings, are 11-1 entering the contest.
TCU has an offense that ranks No. 4 overall in the nation, one that averages 6.78 yards per play and has totaled 6,506 yards on the season. The Horned Frogs are just behind Oregon, Marshall and Big 12 rival Baylor in total yardage at 542.2 per game.
So far this season, Ole Miss has done well against some of the top offenses in the country. Mississippi State’s offense, led by quarterback Dak Prescott, finished No. 9 in the country and was the top unit in the SEC with a 506.2 average.
Boise State, the team the Rebels defeated in Atlanta’s Georgia Dome to start the season, finished the regular season ranked No. 14 in total offense. Alabama (No. 16) and Auburn (No. 17) were the other teams that Ole Miss played that finished high enough in the rankings to even consider a potent or balanced attack.
The Rebels went a combined 3-1 against the teams, with the lone loss coming to Auburn in a game that was decided on an injury suffered by wide receiver Laquon Treadwell.
TCU has one of the most potent passing offenses in the nation led by quarterback Trevone Boykin.
The junior has thrown for 3,714 yards and 30 touchdowns. His passing efficiency rating is 146.6 overall. He was just named the Big 12 Offensive Player of the Year by the Associated Press. Boykin is also a threat to run, as he is second on the team with 642 yards on 142 carries. He accounted for 38 touchdowns, with eight coming on the ground, giving him a tie with junior running back Aaron Green.
The Horned Frogs’ leading touchdown scorer this season has been tailback B.J. Catalon, who scored 10 in eight games. Five TCU receivers have 29 or more catches, with 6-foot-4 Josh Doctson leading the way with 59 for 939 yards and nine touchdowns.
TCU, which averages 46.8 points per game, hasn’t failed to score at least 30 points in any of its games this season. Minnesota held the Horned Frogs to 30 in a 30-7 loss in Week 2, while West Virginia allowed 31 in a one-point loss on Nov. 1. TCU coach Gary Patterson has been known for his defense, and this season the Horned Frogs are solid, if not spectacular in that department.
TCU ranks No. 33 overall in total defense, allowing 359.5 yards per game. TCU does rank No. 16 in the nation in points allowed (20.3), 15 spots behind Ole Miss, which has allowed the fewest points in the nation (166). A big portion of the points allowed came in one game, a 61-58 loss to Baylor on Oct. 11. TCU only allowed seven points to Minnesota, 10 to Texas and three most recently to Iowa State. TCU also held Oklahoma State to nine points.
Senior linebacker Paul Dawson, a graduate of Skyline High in Dallas, leads TCU in tackles (128) and is second on the team in sacks (five) and interceptions (four). Like Boykin, he was just named Big 12 Defensive Player of the Week by the AP.
Another strength for the Horned Frogs on defense is in the secondary. Junior safety Chris Hackett leads the team with six interceptions. TCU has 23 interceptions as a team overall.
Junior Jaden Oberkrom is one of the better kickers in the nation having made 22 of his 26 attempts, including six of eight between 40 and 49 yards. His season high is a 47-yard make. He missed two field goal attempts against SMU in the third game of the season and since then, he only missed two – a 48-yard attempt against Oklahoma State and a 32-yard attempt against Oklahoma. He made 13 straight field goals since his miss.