With offense just Peachy, Frogs defense suffocating Rebels


How dominant has TCU been in the first half of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl vs. Ole Miss?  Let me count the ways, if for nothing more than the benefit of the College Football Playoff committee.

In rolling out to a 28-0 lead that must seem double that to the other side, the Horned Frogs did something that only two teams this season, Auburn and Arkansas, were able to accomplish against the Rebels defense: score more than 20 points in a game, and they’ve done it in just two frenetic quarters of play.  The most points they’ve given up in a single game this season, 35 in the loss to Auburn, is certainly in jeopardy.

There were trick plays aplenty for Gary Patterson‘s offense, with one of them, a double-pass, leading directly to a 31-yard touchdown pass from wide receiver Kolby Listenbee for the first points of the game.  Trevone Boykin, who continues to astound as one of the most improved players in the country at any position, completed 16-of-22 passes for 98 yards and a touchdown.  He added 38 yards on the ground, but did throw two really bad interceptions.

It was TCU’s defense, though, that was the most impressive of the first half for either side.

Ole Miss was limited to just 68 yards of total offense in the first half, including five yards rushing on 20 carries.  Quarterback Bo Wallace was turned into Really, Really, Really Bad Dr. Bo, completing 5-of-13 passes for 63 yards and three of interceptions, the last of which was a “pick-six.”

Wallace was sacked five times, and nearly a sixth late the second quarter that would’ve resulted in a safety.  And nearly a seventh on the same series on a play that, instead of a safety, resulted in a Wallace pass from the end zone being intercepted in the end zone by defensive lineman James McFarland for a touchdown.  You could state, and would not get an argument from me, that it was the single ugliest interception in the history of the sport of football.

But wait, there’s more.  Ole Miss managed just four first downs, and was 2-9 on third down conversions.  Two of those first downs, as well as 41 yards of offense and both third-down conversions, came on the last drive of the half.  And one of the sacks taken by Wallace knocked the Rebels out of field-goal range at the end of that drive.

Adding proverbial insult to literal injury — standout offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil went down with what looked like a severe leg injury — was this…

Yes, it’s been that kind of a half for Ole Miss.

Vick, Fitzgerald and Suggs among stars on College Football Hall of Fame ballot for 1st time

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Michael Vick, Larry Fitzgerald and Terrell Suggs are among the college football stars who will be considered for induction to the Hall of Fame for the first time this year.

The National Football Foundation released Monday a list of 78 players and nine coaches from major college football who are on the Hall of Fame ballot. There also are 101 players and 32 coaches from lower divisions of college football up for consideration.

Vick, who led Virginia Tech to the BCS championship game against Florida State as a redshirt freshman in 1999, is among the most notable players appearing on the ballot in his first year of eligibility.

Vick finished third in the Heisman Trophy voting in 1999. He played one season of college football before being drafted No. 1 overall by the Atlanta Falcons in 2001. Vick’s professional career was interrupted when he served 21 months in prison for his involvement in dog fighting.

Fitzgerald was the Heisman runner-up in 2003 to Oklahoma quarterback Jason White. He scored 34 touchdowns in just two seasons at Pitt.

Suggs led the nation in sacks with 24 in 2002 for Arizona State.

The 2024 Hall of Fame class will be chosen by the National Football Foundation’s Honors Court and announced in January. Induction into the Atlanta-based hall is the following December.

Alabama freshman DB Mitchell says he wasn’t sure he’d get to play again after arrest

Mickey Welsh / Advertiser / USA TODAY NETWORK
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TUSCALOOSA, Ala. – Alabama defensive back Tony Mitchell said he feared his football career was over after his arrest on a drug charge.

The Crimson Tide freshman said in a video posted Sunday on social media that he knew “something much bigger could have happened.”

A judge in Holmes County, Florida, sentenced Mitchell to three years of probation with a fine and community service on May 24 after Mitchell pleaded guilty to a charge of possession of more than 20 grams of cannabis.

“I didn’t know if I’d be able to play football again, but I continued to work out and stay close with the Lord and those who love me unconditionally,” Mitchell said. “During those times, it helped me to keep my mind off it. But when I was by myself looking at social media, what everybody had to say about it, it just felt like it happened again.

“I didn’t sleep at night.”

He was suspended from the Alabama team following the arrest, but Mitchell’s father, Tony Sr., posted on Facebook last week that the defensive back had been reinstated. An Alabama spokesman declined to comment on Mitchell’s status.

Tony Mitchell Sr. shared his son’s video on Facebook, saying it was filmed during a talk to youth.

“I was doing things I knew I shouldn’t to try to fit in,” the younger Mitchell said, “but not everybody’s your friend.”

Mitchell, who is from Alabaster, Alabama, was a four-star prospect and the 15th-rated safety in the 247Composite rankings.

He had been charged in March with possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell after a traffic stop when authorities said he drove over 141 mph (227 kph) while trying to evade deputies in the Florida Panhandle. A deputy had spotted Mitchell’s black Dodge Challenger traveling 78 mph (125 kph) in a 55 mph (88 kph) zone on a rural highway north of Bonifay.

He also received 100 hours of community service and paid a fine of $1,560.

Mitchell and a passenger were both charged with possession of marijuana with the intent to sell or deliver, according to a Holmes County Sheriff’s Office arrest report. The other man also was charged with carrying a concealed gun without a permit.