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TCU Horned Frogs

TCU vs. SMU Preview and Prediction

TCU RB Darius Anderson

Here is everything you need to know about the Horned Frogs’ next game in our TCU vs. SMU Preview.

Broadcast info

2:30 p.m. Central Time, Saturday, Sept. 16, 2017, Amon G. Carter Stadium, Fort Worth, Texas

TV: ESPNU (Roy Philpott and Tom Ramsey)

Radio: WBAP 820 AM, KTCU 88.7 FM (Fort Worth)

Fun fact: This is the 97th renewal of “The Battle for the Iron Skillet.” Yes, the winner of this game takes home an iron skillet. No one is exactly sure why, but SMU’s side of the story has an SMU fan frying frog legs and a TCU fan taking offense before a game in 1946. Winner of the game got the skillet and the frog legs. TCU’s side of the story is much more boring, as the iron skillet was the result of talks between both student bodies about what the trophy should be. TCU leads the series, 49-40-7.

 

Key players

SMU Mustangs

WR Courtland Sutton. If you’re going to slow the Mustangs down, it starts with this receiver, who led them in every receiving category last year, is a potential first-round draft pick and already has 10 catches for 185 yards and five touchdowns in two games.

QB Ben Hicks. He’s shown improvement over last year and a good rapport with Sutton, having thrown for 424 yards and six touchdowns against just one interception. TCU’s defense forced him into two interceptions last year. He’s more experienced now.

DE Kyran Mitchell. With three sacks and eight tackles in two games, the junior strong side linebacker is the defensive player to watch on Saturday.

TCU Horned Frogs

RB Darius Anderson. Anderson carried the load last week for the Horned Frogs against Arkansas, rushing for more than 100 yards for just the second time in his collegiate career and scoring the back-breaking touchdown in the fourth quarter. He’s led TCU in rushing yards in both games this season.

DE Ben Banogu. The junior defensive end set the physical tone for TCU’s win over Arkansas with a sack of Hogs quarterback Austin Allen on the game’s third play.

QB Kenny Hill. After two statistically-pedestrian — but effective — passing games to start the season, the Horned Frogs are hoping their senior QB can break out against the Mustangs before Big 12 play begins. Last year Hill threw for 452 yards and two touchdowns against SMU, and that was without wide receiver KaVontae Turpin, who was injured.

 

Key storylines

TCU Horned Frogs

TCU has some boxes to check on offense in this one, including getting some consistency up-and-down the field on offense against an FBS defense. The Frogs also need Hill to get more productive in the passing game and for a No. 1 receiving target to emerge (right now it’s Desmon White, who leads with seven receptions). The defense looked top-flight against Arkansas and head coach Gary Patterson wants to see that momentum continue for two reasons. First, this is a rivalry game and SMU has a history of being pesky when they’re the underdog. Second the Big 12 opener is in Stillwater next weekend and he wants his Frogs primed to take on Oklahoma State.

SMU Mustangs

Third-year head coach Chad Morris has his Mustangs pointed in the right direction, and that was evident last year when Baylor tried to lure him away to take over the Bears. He turned them down and signed an extension to stay on The Hilltop. Easy wins over FCS Stephen F. Austin and Conference USA member North Texas are nice, but the Mustangs have yet to register that signature win over a Power 5 team under Morris, and they would love nothing better than to do so on the road. And in case you think they lack the firepower to do it, in Morris’ first season at SMU the Mustangs went into Fort Worth and pushed the Horned Frogs on a rainy night before losing, 56-37.

Prediction

TCU 31, SMU 21

After seeing the Horned Frogs in person last week, I expect a bit of a letdown. But the Mustangs haven’t faced anything like TCU’s defense to this point in the season and the difficulty moving the ball up and down the field will be culture shock. TCU will move the ball better on offense, but I don’t see them scoring a ton of points against a motivated rival. Patterson sees the start of this season as a four-game season, as there’s a bye week after the Oklahoma State game. All Patterson wants Saturday is to go 3-0 and get ready for that “finale” of sorts against OSU.

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