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TCU vs. SMU: Preview and Prediction

NCAA Football: SMU at Texas Christian

Here is everything you need to know about the upcoming rivalry game in our TCU vs. SMU preview and prediction.

Game Info

2:30 p.m. CT, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas

TV: FS1 (Tim Brando, Spencer Tillman, Coley Harvey)

Away Radio: SMU Radio Network, Flagship: 1310 AM/96.7 FM The Ticket (Rich Phillips, Scott Garner, Steve Lansdale)

Home Radio: WBAP 820 AM, KTCU 88.7 FM, Sirius 135, XM 199 (Brian Estridge, John Denton, Landry Burdine)

SMU Head Coach: Sonny Dykes (49-53 overall, 8-8 at SMU)

TCU Head Coach: Gary Patterson (169-63 overall and at TCU)

Series History: TCU leads 51-40-7. This will be the 99th overall meeting. TCU is on a seven-game winning streak. SMU’s most recent victory came in 2011.

Series in Fort Worth: TCU leads 28-18-5

Opening Line: TCU -11

Moneyline: TCU -344/SMU +299

Over/Under: 55

Fun Facts: The winner gets an Iron Skillet, and there are conflicting views on how this came about. Here’s a video to tell you more about it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSxwlezCFJc

 

Key Players

TCU (2-0, W AT Purdue 34-13)

QB Max Duggan

The true freshman is expected to start against TCU’s arch nemesis. It’s not really supposed to be a tune-up and may be closer than most TCU fans expect. However, it’s really important that Duggan receives quality reps during the final non-conference game for TCU. He only completed 7 of 18 passes against Purdue, racking up 70 yards. The Horned Frogs didn’t need a passing attack against Purdue. If SMU does get ahead, offensive coordinator Sonny Cumbie knows the only way to come back against an Air Raid attack is to have a better Air Raid attack. Cumbie played at Texas Tech while Dykes was on the staff under Mike Leach.

FS Trevon Moehrig

Moehrig is the youngest starter on the TCU secondary, but he’s made a major impact so far. He has an interception in each of the first two games. Moehrig is also third on the team in tackles, just behind Innis Gaines and defending Heartland College Sports Defensive Player of the Week Garrett Wallow. SMU might want to pick on the youngster, but that would be a bad decision.

SMU (3-0, W VS. Texas State 47-17)

QB Shane Buechele

Was there ever any doubt who I was going to pick? The former Texas quarterback has racked up 871 yards and a 66.3 completion percentage through three games. Although, all three of those games have come against Group of Five opponents with losing records. Now the Mustangs will walk into the house of a Power Five opponent. Of course, being that it is a Big 12 opponent, Buechele will have a major chip on his shoulder to prove himself worthy.

SAFETY Patrick Nelson

Nelson leads SMU in tackles and has an interception. If SMU can get in front of TCU to begin the game, the Mustangs might be able to make this interesting. If things get interesting, Nelson will be waiting for true freshman Duggan to make a mistake.

 

Key Storylines

TCU

Kansas is no longer considered a walkover. TCU just scored a major victory for the Big 12 by going to Big Ten country and locking up a win over what is supposed to be a solid Purdue team. The Horned Frogs must place the Purdue game in the past and look forward to this week. Prior to the season, TCU’s Big 12 opener was considered a cake walk. All of a sudden, Kansas has snapped a 48-game road losing streak against Power Five schools. I don’t want to say this is a “trap game”, but the Horned Frogs are certainly in prime position to overlook a 3-0 SMU squad led by a former Longhorn quarterback. If there’s one coach who will keep a team’s focus though, it’s definitely Gary Patterson. As he once said at Big 12 Media Days when asked about the Art Briles scandal, “Baylor’s not my problem. TCU is my problem.”

SMU

Sonny Dykes is on a roll right now. The Mustangs are 3-0 for the first time since the Pony Express days. SMU has its first vote in a poll since 2016. Things are looking up on the hilltop and nothing would be more satisfying to SMU fans right now than upsetting No.25 TCU in Fort Worth to bring the Iron Skillet back to Dallas. On the other hand, history is not on the Mustangs side. They’ve lost 11 of the last 12 games and 17 of the last 19. Not to mention, Patterson is 2-0 against Sonny Dykes as a head coach. But wait, there’s more. Even while Dykes was at Texas Tech and TCU had yet to enter a Power conference, the Horned Frogs found a way to stall a Mike Leach offense. TCU upset the Red Raiders 12-3 in 2006 during a game which featured nothing but field goals. Dykes was the co-offensive coordinator and receivers coach.

Prediction

TCU 24 SMU 9

Something tells me that TCU’s defense is a monster this year. If you look at TCU during the odd years, TCU has won 11 games in six of the last nine times during an odd year season. This includes 2015 and 2017 while the Horned Frogs were in the Big 12. TCU had a down year last year, which typically means they are championship contenders the following year. For this game at least, history is on TCU’s side. The defense is No.2 in the nation currently. The passing game is struggling, but that’s okay for Patterson in this game. He’s got a strong rushing attack and a stout defense. TCU’s performance winds up being much more impressive than what the final scoreboard says.

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