SMU (4-1) quarterback J.J. McDermott completed 23-of-45 passes for 349 yards and four touchdowns, the biggest being a 19-yard overtime heave to receiver Jeremy Johnson as the Mustangs beat TCU (3-2) 40-33 Saturday at Amon Carter Stadium.
The win was SMU’s first over the Frogs since 2005 and snapped TCU’s 22-game home winning streak.
But for most of the game, overtime didn’t seem like a possibility for TCU.
McDermott and SMU held a commanding 27-10 lead heading into the fourth quarter. But TCU quarterback Casey Pachall and the Frogs mounted a comeback.
Pachall threw an 8-yard touchdown pass to receiver Josh Boyce early in the fourth quarter to cut the Mustangs’ lead to 10.
After the TCU defense gave up another SMU touchdown, Pachall drove the Frogs back down the field, this time hooking up with Brandon Carter for a 3-yard touchdown.
That cut the Mustangs’ lead to 33-23.
Seven minutes later, kicker Ross Evans nailed a 29-yard field goal to reduce the SMU lead to seven. The Frogs’ defense forced SMU to punt on their next possession, giving TCU the ball back at the Mustangs’ 46-yard line with 3:23 left in the game.
Nine plays later Pachall capped off the Frogs’ comeback with a four-yard touchdown pass to fullback Luke Shivers.
SMU got the ball back at the 50-yard line after the TCU kickoff, but the Frogs’ defense didn’t allow the Mustangs to advance much further, stopping them on third and ten and forcing them to punt as the game clock ran out.
But the TCU defense couldn’t stop SMU in overtime.
Two plays into the extra period, McDermott found Johnson for the go-ahead score.
The Frogs got the ball back with a chance to equal SMU’s touchdown, but couldn’t do it. Facing fourth and two, Pachall threw a strike to Carter, who dropped the pass and handed SMU the victory.
Patterson said the comeback was nice, but it doesn’t take away from the fact TCU still lost.
“The bottom line is we’ve come back twice and come up short,” Patterson said. “Our kids did everything they could to get to that point, but you’ve got to find a way to finish. That’s two ballgames we werent’ able to finish.
Pachall finished the game 30-of-42 passing for 304 yards and a three touchdowns, all of which came in the fourth quarter.
Before TCU’s impressive fourth quarter, the game was all SMU.
McDermott tossed two touchdown passes – a 14-yarder to receiver Darius Johnson and a 71-yarder to Terrance Wilkerson – that put the Mustangs up 14-0 11 minutes into the first half.
Patterson said the long pass to Wilkerson was a blown play that should’ve never happened.
“We’re in a six coverage where they shouldn’t even run by us,” Patterson said. “We’re backed up, we got everybody 12 yards deep and they run a switch route and we let the guy run by us.”
From that point, SMU would add a field goal to extend their lead to 17-0.
But TCU responded with a Matthew Tucker one-yard touchdown run. Tucker was set up two plays earlier when running back Ed Wesley reeled off a 64-yard run to the SMU two-yard line.
Wesley returned to the field Saturday after missing the previous three games with a shoulder injury and led the Frogs with 93 yards on 11 carries.
The momentum at that point started to shift in TCU’s direction. The Frogs’ defense stopped the Mustangs on consecutive drives and TCU got the ball back with :50 remaining the half on their own 23-yard line.
That’s where Pachall went to work.
The sophomore completed two big passes – a 27-yarder to Brandon Carter and a 19-yarder to Skye Dawson – that helped take the Frogs down to the SMU 25-yard line.
With :08 left on the clock, Evans came out for a 42-yard field goal attempt. The snap was bobbled, though, and holder Anson Kelton was forced to throw the ball away.
But since it was still second down and :02 was left in the half, Evans would get a second chance.
And he made the most of it, nailing the kick and sending TCU into the locker room trailing 17-10.
But the Frogs’ momentum quickly went out the door.
TCU’s Greg McCoy, returning the opening kick of the second quarter, was hit and fumbled the ball around the Frogs’ 10-yard line. SMU recovered the loose ball in the endzone to go up 24-10.
Mustang kicker Chase Hover made a 31-yard field goal with 3:51 left in the third quarter to extend SMU’s lead back to 17 before the TCU comeback.
Zach Line led SMU on the ground with 121 yards on 21 carries while receiver D. Johnson hauled in 12 catches for 152 yards and two touchdowns.
Patterson said his team did not match the intensity of SMU, who clearly had TCU circled on their schedule.
“I told them all week I read the papers,” Patterson said. “A person tells you they hate you, you should probably take notice of it. But obviously we didn’t.”
A lack of execution, not preparation is what got TCU beat Saturday, Patterson said.
“We really had great practices,” Patterson said. “The bottom line in football is you got to make plays. You got to make the play.”
Still, though, Patterson said Saturday’s loss falls back on him.
“I’m going to be honest with you,” Patterson said. “There is no one in this room to blame except me. My job is to get my team ready to play. My job is to make sure they do what they need to do. There’s nobody up there that needs to take any of the blame for this except me.”
TCU will be back in action next Saturday when they travel to San Diego State to take on the Aztecs. Kickoff is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. local time.
-Saturday’s attendance of 35,632 marked TCU’s fifth straight sellout and was the highest home attendance this season.
-Running back Ed Wesley also tacked on a career-high 67 yards receiving to go along with his team-high 93 yards rushing.
-TCU’s home winning streak of 22 games was third in the nation behind Oklahoma (38) and Boise State (34). The loss was the Frogs’ first at Amon Carter Stadium since Oct. 18, 2007 when they lost to Utah 27-20.
-TCU receiver Josh Boyce led TCU in receiving for the fifth consecutive game, hauling in 94 yards and a touchdown on seven catches.