TCU football will head to Dallas Friday to match up against an SMU squad coming off a loss to North Texas, 46-23. However, the Horned Frogs aren’t paying any attention to the score.
In preparation for Friday’s contest, Head Coach Gary Patterson and his team have dissected SMU’s defeat and are paying specific attention to a certain chunk of the action.
“You need to give North Texas a lot of credit,” Patterson said. “They threw the ball well and were physical on defense. Once SMU shook off the cobwebs, they got going in the second half. We’re preparing for the team who played the last eight minutes.”
The Mustangs accounted for all 23 of their points in the final 8:11 of the ball game, including two touchdown passes of at least 59 yards in the final 1:41. Of the 256 total yards SMU recorded, 252 came through the air.
“You have to look at North Texas, they’re a great team,” TCU defensive end Ty Summers said. “They had a lot of returners coming back, so it’s a very formidable opponent SMU had to face. That’s what we’re really focused on because we know when we play them that they’ll give us a hell of a game.”
Running back Braeden West led the Mustangs Saturday with two touchdowns, one rushing and one receiving, and receiver James Proche caught a 59-yard touchdown pass.
Quarterback Ben Hicks etched his name in the SMU history books as he tied the Mustang’s touchdown-responsible-for mark with his two touchdowns Saturday, bringing his career total to 57.
Patterson boasts a near-perfect record when facing SMU, holding a 14-2 mark during his tenure in Fort Worth. Friday’s game will be his second time facing former offensive analyst and current SMU head coach, Sonny Dykes.
“It makes it more fun and interesting because there’s more history,” Summers said. “You have to scheme a different way because you know he’s been around here and he knows what we’re about.”
The Horned Frogs defeated the Mustangs 56-36 last season in Fort Worth.
“I like this game because of the travel part,” Patterson said. “It’s like a home game one way or the other because you only have to go 30 minutes.”
Besides Dykes, there is even more of a connection between the two schools. TCU outside receivers coach Rusty Burns was SMU’s offensive coordinator and quarterback’s coach from 2004-07, and TCU defensive end Michael Epley played at SMU during his freshman and sophomore seasons.
Financially, SMU does not draw in the same type of ticket sales as Ohio State, but Patterson sees no reason to schedule multiple high-quality preseason opponents and would love to keep the SMU rivalry alive.
There’s a method to Patterson’s scheduling ideology.
“Everyone wants all of these big games,” Patterson said, “but the bottom line is you need to get your team ready. You just need to win ball games and get your team ready and go play your conference schedule and get ready to go. I want to play Ohio State, but I’m not going to play three Ohio States.”
SEC All-Freshman Linebacker, No.11 LSU’s K’Lavon Chaisson, suffered a season-ending knee injury in Sunday night’s opener versus No. 8 Miami, one of the most anticipated games of the first weekend.
“All I’m reading in the newspaper today is all of those players who played in the big games are out for the season,” Patterson said.
Patterson sees no reason to schedule tough in the preseason because his team already plays in the Big 12, a deep conference that currently holds three ranked teams.
The Horned Frogs will spend their short week improving on little things, including a defensive line with some younger players whose performance Patterson categorized as “average.”
With a rivalry game ahead of them, Patterson is not worried about his team, although this game is “personal.”
“It seems a lot more personal because you’re fighting for DFW,” Summers said. “Whoever wins this game has bragging rights, so that makes this game a little more interesting.”
Kick-off from Dallas for the Battle for the Iron Skillet is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday.