KaVontae Turpin celebrates his 61-yard touchdown catch in the first quarter.

The TCU Horned Frogs have bounced back from an early SMU Mustang scoring drive and hold a 28-17 lead at halftime in the Battle for the Iron Skillet.

The Frogs lost starting cornerback Ranthony Texada to injury midway through the second quarter, and TCU head coach Gary Patterson said in a halftime radio interview that the sophomore is likely out for the rest of the season.

Trevone Boykin shook off two early overthrows and posted 242 yards passing with two touchdowns to go along with 53 yards rushing and a TD on the ground.

Wide receiver Josh Doctson has three catches for 122 yards and a touchdown. The senior’s shortest reception measured 29 yards.

For the Mustangs, quarterback Matt Davis has put his athleticism on display. The junior has 149 yards passing and a touchdown along with 49 yards rushing, most of which have come on scrambles that TCU’s defensive line has had a tough time defending.

TCU has largely relied on big plays to score. The Frogs are averaging 12.1 yards per play, while SMU has marched methodically down the field at a pace of 5.7 yards per play.

How the first half unfolded

The Frogs were on their heels defensively after SMU received the opening kickoff. Two personal fouls on TCU allowed the Mustangs to pick up large chunks of yardage, and Davis’s scrambling ability gave him time to find Kevin Thomas on a crucial red zone third down to set up a Xavier Jones touchdown run that put SMU up 7-0. 

Trevone Boykin was nearly picked off on his first two passes of the game before recovering to find Ty Slanina on an out route to pick up a much-needed first down for the Frogs. Two plays later, speedy slot receiver KaVontae Turpin turned a 3-yard slant pass into a 61-yard touchdown to even the score at 7-7. 

SMU scored a field goal on a drive that was powered by acrobatic catches from Courtland Sutton and Ryheem Malone.

TCU answered back, using a deep ball from Boykin to Josh Doctson to the SMU one-yard line to set up Aaron Green for an easy TD run to put the Frogs up 14-10 with 3 minutes to go in the first quarter. 

Defensive end Josh Carraway sacked Davis to force a Mustang three-and-out, but TCU couldn’t take advantage of a 54-yard Boykin to Doctson connection. The Frogs were stuffed on fourth down from the goal line after Trevorris Johnson’s sneak attempt was denied. 

A SMU holding penalty negated a showstopping catch by Sutton that would’ve moved the Mustangs into TCU territory, and the Mustangs were forced to punt again. 

A Boykin scramble that included a flip reminiscent of his touchdown run against Kansas State put the Frogs into scoring territory, and two plays later Doctson outran Mustang defenders on a go route down the right sideline for a TCU touchdown to make the score 21-10. 

The catch was the 17th TD reception of Doctson’s career, which moved him into a tie with Mike Renfro and Corey Rodgers for the second most career touchdown catches in TCU history, trailing only Josh Boyce. 

The Horned Frog defense stopped SMU again on the next drive, but Texada’s injury, which occurred while defending a deep pass play, cast a pall on the remainder of the half. 

After a Boykin fumble on an option keeper that he managed to recover, the Frogs were forced to punt. SMU found their way into TCU territory before failing to convert a fourth-and-5 situation from the TCU 41. 

Aaron Green ran the Frogs down to the 20-yard line before Boykin showed off his agility by avoiding a sack and scrambling for an electric touchdown run to put the Frogs up 28-10 with two minutes left in the half. 

SMU struck back with a 64-yard pass from Davis to Malone on the opening play of the drive that put the Mustangs inside the TCU red zone. SMU converted a fourth-and-1 to get to the TCU goal line with 20 seconds remaining in the half, and Davis found Sutton in the back of the end zone two plays later to bring the score to 28-17 at the half. 

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Grant McGalliard is a senior journalism and political science major from Bay City, Texas. He's worked in everything from sports to student organizations at TCU, and recently began blogging with the Dallas Morning News. In his spare time, Grant enjoys tweeting far too much, pretending he knows more than he does about Premier League soccer, and listening to the music of Kanye West.