Stop me if you’ve heard this one before this postseason: Team A is waxing Team B in the X Bowl.
Continuing what’s been the dominant theme of the 2015-16 bowl cycle, Oregon is having little issue whatsoever thus far in taking care of business against TCU, jumping out to a 21-0 first-quarter lead en
rout route a 31-0 halftime lead in the Alamo Bowl. By just about any statistical measure, this one has been about as close as the current score would indicate.
The Ducks rolled up 360 yards of first-half offense, while the Horned Frogs were limited to just 142. UO out-first downed TCU 18-5 as well.
The Horned Frogs ran just eight offensive plays in Duck territory, and punted on five of their seven possessions. Their deepest penetration was to the Duck 30-yard line on a drive that ended on downs; their only other drive, other than the one to run out the final :32 of the half, came to a halt on an interception.
A microcosm of TCU’s first-half struggles? Their special teams appeared to have provided a spark with five minutes left in the half by blocking a Duck punt deep in UO’s territory… only to see the Ducks recover it and legally advance it for a first down to keep the drive alive.
Vernon Adams Jr. continued to show why many an observer felt that, if he had been healthy the entire season, Oregon could’ve very well been involved in the playoffs instead of stuck in a mid-tier bowl. The FCS graduate transfer completed 13-of-19 passes for 197 yards and a touchdown in the first two quarters. The Ducks had three players rush for 40 or more yards in the half — Royce Freeman (72), Tony Brooks-James (50), Taj Griffin (40) — as part of a rushing attack that accounted for 163 yards and a 5.8 yards per carry average.
Freeman also accounted for two of the Ducks’ three rushing touchdowns.
Arguably the only negative in the first half was Adams being knocked out of the game late in the second quarter following a hard, but legal, hit. Adams was taken off the field under his own power and into the locker room, with his return in the second half unknown as of this posting.
This was expected to be one of the better — and more competitive — bowl games, but the arrest and suspension of star TCU quarterback Trevone Boykin, as well as injuries to two starting offensive lineman and leading receiver, changed the complexion of the contest entirely.