Players eager for homecoming showdown

After suffering two consecutive losses, the Frogs are looking to rebound and regain something the team has not had for two years: the Iron Skillet.As SMU comes to Amon Carter Stadium on Saturday, the Frogs face an opponent they have not faced since their 21-10 loss in 2005 – the first win for the Mustangs against the Frogs in seven previous games.

With the team being in a situation similar to the one it was in last season when it lost to BYU and Utah in back-to-back weeks, head coach Gary Patterson said the team has experience in having to overcome consecutive defeats.

“We’ve been in this position before,” Patterson said. “There’s no reason to look back. We’ll move on and learn from our mistakes.”

The rivalry game against SMU, which was recently named the “D/FW Duel” by State Farm, was lopsided in TCU’s favor before the 2005 loss. Until then, the Frogs had held possession of the Iron Skillet during six meetings from 1999 through 2004.

Even with its longtime rival coming to town, senior linebacker David Hawthorne said Saturday’s game is just the next game on the schedule – rivalry or not.

“It’s our biggest game,” Hawthorne said. “It’s our next game. Whether it’s SMU or anybody else coming to town, we have to prepare equally.”

Since junior running back Aaron Brown went down with a knee injury against Baylor, the Frogs have only mustered 132 rushing yards combined in the two losses against Texas and Air Force. Sophomore Ryan Christian and junior Justin Watts have filled in during Brown’s and sophomore Joseph Turner’s absences.

“You can sit here and dwell on the negatives that we don’t have our top three tailbacks,” said Patterson, “but Ryan Christian has filled in well and we’re going to play to his strengths.”

The Frogs own a 40-39-7 all-time edge against its Metroplex rival.

Senior strong safety Brian Bonner said he is excited about the thought of bringing the Iron Skillet back to Fort Worth.

“We want the Skillet back and they want to keep the Skillet,” Bonner said. “We’re just going to go out there and see who comes out with the Skillet.