For the first time since 2011, the Iron Skillet will live in Dallas, as No. 25 TCU fell to SMU 41-38 on Saturday.
Running back Darius Anderson exploded again, rushing for 161 yards and two touchdowns, but it wasn’t enough for the Frogs to come away with a win.
This is the first time Anderson has produced back-to-back 100-yard rushing games in his career; he rushed for 169 yards and two touchdowns in last week’s win over Purdue.
Linebacker Garrett Wallow continued his own streak of dominance, producing his third-straight double-digit tackle game with a career-high of 19.
Though the Horned Frogs out-gained the Mustangs 424-406 in yards of total offense, TCU gave up several key opportunities to score by losing three fumbles and being stopped on fourth down in SMU territory twice.
SMU got off to a quick start as quarterback Shane Buechele took it up the middle for a four-yard touchdown run just 1:18 into the first quarter.
Just under eight minutes later, TCU would find themselves down 15-0, after running back Sewo Olonilua’s fumble on the TCU four yard line set SMU up for an easy score.
Anderson would rush for 104 yards and two touchdowns over the next 7:11 of play to cut the Mustang’s lead to 18-14.
After another SMU touchdown, Anderson would continue to be TCU’s lone source of offense. The senior took SMU’s ensuing kickoff 49 yards to put the Frogs in enemy territory to start their drive. He would then have 28 rushing yards on two carries to take TCU to the SMU 13.
Appearing in his first start, quarterback Max Duggan struggled to hit his targets, though, and TCU would settle for a field goal.
As they had all afternoon to this point, the Mustangs responded by going 58 yards in just 3:08, scoring on a nine yard touchdown pass to receiver James Proche to go up 31-17 on the Frogs with 0:13 left in the first half.
Going into the halftime break, TCU had gained just 192 yards of total offense, 133 of which had come from Anderson alone on the ground. Duggan had completed just one pass for 22 yards.
On the other hand, Buechele’s 189 passing yards were a huge part of SMU’s 276 total yards at that point. After giving up just 20 points all season, the Frogs had given up 31 in the first half alone to their cross-town rivals.
After the teams traded punts to start the half, Reagor put TCU on the SMU 23 with a 23-yard punt return. The Frogs would take advantage, as Duggan finally found some rhythm. The true first-year went 2-for-3 for 22 yards and a touchdown to tight end Pro Wells.
The score was a career-first for Wells, who was ranked as the No. 4 junior college tight end in the nation before transferring to TCU.
The game would go back-and-forth for the rest of the half. Duggan caught stride, throwing for 166 yards and three touchdowns in the second half alone. After the strike to Wells, he would hit Olonilua for a five-yard score before finding Wells again from 13 yards out.
With TCU down 41-38 with 3:37 remaining, a miscommunication between the SMU center and Buechle led to a huge loss and the Mustangs were forced to punt.
The Frogs would not even get one first down, as head coach Gary Patterson elected not to kick a 51-yard field goal, and Duggan’s pass on 4th down and three yards to go was well in front of Anderson.
Duggan finished 16-for-36 for 188 yards and three touchdowns. This was his first career game with multiple touchdown passes.
Wide receiver Jalen Reagor caught just two passes for two yards. The former Waxahachie standout has just 100 receiving yards on the season.
Safety Trevon Moehrig and linebacker Dee Winters posted seven tackles each in the loss.
With the win, SMU advances to 4-0 for the first time since 1984 with the victory, while TCU drops to 2-1 for the second-straight season.
The Frogs will have an opportunity to recover next week, as they start Big 12 play against Kansas. Kickoff at Amon G. Carter Stadium is scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday.