SMU looking for statement win vs. No. 25 TCU

Field Level Media

September 17, 2019 at 10:39 pm.

No. 25 TCU and Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex rival SMU meet on Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas, for the 99th time in the Battle for the Iron Skillet.

And though the Horned Frogs have dominated the matchup over the past decade, it’s the Mustangs who will sport the better record when the latest dustup kicks off at Amon G. Carter Stadium.

SMU is 3-0 for the first time since 1984, but TCU has won 17 of the past 19 meetings and carries a seven-game victory streak against the Mustangs into its final non-conference game of the season.

The Horned Frogs (who had an open date in Week 2) throttled Purdue 34-13 on the road last Saturday to move to 2-0. TCU racked up 346 yards on the ground, with the running back duo of Darius Anderson (a career-high 179 yards and two touchdowns) as “lightning” to Sewo Olonilua’s (106 yards and a TD) “thunder.”

“(Darius) and Sewo have exactly what you want in two backs,” TCU coach Gary Patterson told the media after the win over Purdue. “One’s more the power guy, one’s more the slasher, but they both ran really hard. We can do about everything we need to in our offense with both in the ballgame.”

“Two-headed monster,” TCU cornerback Jeff Gladney told the Fort Worth Star-Telegram about Anderson and Olonilua. “You can’t stop them.”

Speaking of platooning skilled players, the Horned Frogs have been playing two quarterbacks as well, alternating between true freshman Max Duggan and Kansas State transfer Alex Delton through two games.

Delton has started both of the Horned Frogs’ games this season, but Duggan played the majority of snaps at Purdue.

“We’re still going to have two play,” Patterson said. “They’re both going to play. You guys … you’re not going to get an answer all year, so that we understand.”

The Horned Frogs are looking to go 3-0 for the 10th time in the Patterson era. TCU is second nationally in total defense, allowing just 209.5 yards per game, and has forced three-and-outs on 60.0 percent (18-of-30) of its opponents’ series.

SMU hasn’t defeated the Horned Frogs since 2011, and just twice in 19 games since 1999, with TCU capturing the past six meetings by an average of 31 points. But the Mustangs, buoyed by the play of quarterback Shane Buechele, a transfer from Texas, should pose a much stiffer challenge than in recent years.

The Mustangs dismantled Texas State 47-17 last week, in the process outgaining the Bobcats 639-241 in total yards. Buechele managed the Ponies’ offense well but threw for just 219 yards on 14-of-18 passing and two touchdowns with two interceptions.

SMU coach Sonny Dykes chose to see Buechele’s middling stats as a positive since his senior signal-caller did all the other proper things to lead the Mustangs to the win.

“It was good for him to kind of have an ugly ball game, know what I mean?” Dykes told reporters. “The quarterback’s first job is to help his football team win. To me, 500 yards is a good game passing, and that’s not always the best, the truth.”

The Ponies opened the season with wins over Arkansas State, 37-30, and North Texas, 49-27. They step up in class when they face TCU, and Buechele understands he’ll have to play better, too.

“It’s important for us to just keep going week by week and try to go and get a win,” Buechele said. “It’s big for us a program to be 3-0, we like to go 1-0 on this game. If we win every week things will take of themselves.”

The Horned Frogs hold a 51-40-7 edge over the Mustangs in a series that began with a 43-0 TCU win in Fort Worth in 1915. TCU owns a 28-18-5 edge versus the Mustangs in games played in Fort Worth.