TCU looks to avoid becoming a cautionary tale against SMU


TCU running back Kyle Hicks (21) carries the ball as SMU defensive back Rodney Clemons (8) comes up for the tackle in the first half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Sept. 23, 2016, in Dallas, Texas. (AP Photo/Mike Stone)

By Garrett Podell

TCU is coming off a 28-7 victory at Arkansas as it prepares to the defend the Iron Skillet against long time rival SMU.

The Horned Frogs have only lost to SMU twice this century, but head football coach Gary Patterson knows the Mustangs will arrive at Amon G. Carter Stadium Saturday ready to play.

In 2005, the Mustangs  cost the Frogs a perfect season, one week after TCU had upset a top-five Oklahoma in Norman, 17-10. Patterson has already warned his players against repeating this.

“That’s the first thing that came out of his mouth,” senior quarterback Kenny Hill said Tuesday. “You can’t take these guys lightly, and we know that coming in because of the way they’ve played us the last couple of years; they always give us a game.”

Patterson said the telling of the 2005 SMU upset story is an “annual thing.”

Like TCU, SMU is 2-0.  The Mustangs have scored a program record 112 points this season and have one of the nation’s top receivers, Courtland Sutton. Sutton hauled in four receiving touchdowns on eight catches and went for 163 yards against University of North Texas Saturday, setting an American Athletic Conference record and tying the school record.

This season, the Horned Frogs have been stout defensively, having never played from behind in its 2-0 start this season, and they rank fourth in the country in scoring defense and total defense.

“I think I saw where they say they’re trying to win the Metroplex trophy because they beat North Texas,” Patterson said. “That’s one of their goals, so anytime you get in an emotional game, you have to get ready to play.”

After beating OU in 2005, Patterson was so caught up in the win he allowed media to his practice the next day – that doesn’t happen anymore. Now, Patterson said he looks at one game and one game only.

“If you want to achieve everything, you have to get ready because they all count as one, and they don’t give you bonus points,” he said. “We don’t have a game on our schedule where we can’t be beat. We have a tough schedule.”

The Horned Frogs are the Mustangs’ most played opponent. TCU has played only Baylor more than SMU.

“SMU is a big rivalry game, so they’re going to come out swinging as hard as they can, and it’s always a physical game because of the tradition,” Hill said. “We’re looking forward to a battle.”