Who to Watch: TCU vs. SMU

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    The SMU Mustangs enter Saturday’s game against the Horned Frogs with an 0-3 record after losing the past three games by a combined score of 146-12. After suffering a 58-6 loss at the hands of Texas A&M last weekend, the Mustangs will look to get anything going against a TCU team that has impressed in its first two games of the 2014 season. Here are three players to watch for on both teams come Saturday morning.

    SMU

    Der’rikk Thompson, Senior, Wide Reciever

    The lone bright spot in an SMU offense that has tallied only 12 points in its first three games, Der’rikk Thompson has proven to be SMU’s best offensive threat so far this season. With 11 receptions for 167 yards, Thompson is averaging 15.2 yards a catch. The battle between Thompson and TCU’s secondary should prove to be an interesting one, and it’s possible that the senior wideout could be the key to unlocking the stingy TCU defense.

    Stephon Sanders, Senior, Linebacker

    It’s no secret that Stephon Sanders and the SMU defense have struggled mightily through their first three games of 2014. Currently the fourth leading tackler for SMU, Sanders has 16 tackles on the year, 13 of which were solo efforts. Sanders and his teammates will have to elevate their level of play come Saturday, and hope that the SMU offense can carry their weight and help keep the defense off the field.

    Kevin Pope, RS Senior, Running Back

    Two weeks ago, the TCU front line was able to shut down Minnesota’s rushing attack and render star running back David Cobb ineffective. With their inability to establish the run game, Minnesota was forced to throw the ball more often, which resulted in turnovers and a stagnant offense. If SMU wants to avoid testing the TCU secondary, senior running back Kevin Pope will have to make a big impact on the ground. Through his first three games, Pope has amassed 86 yards with an average of 3.4 yards per carry.

    TCU

    Trevone Boykin, Junior, Quarterback

    Last weekend, SMU allowed A&M quarterbacks Kenny Hill and Kyle Allen to throw for nearly 400 yards and 3 touchdowns, decimating the SMU secondary. Expect Trevone Boykin and the TCU offense to try to replicate the Aggies’ success and exploit SMU’s defensive struggles. While Boykin should be the starter and will most likely take a majority of the snaps, don’t be surprised to see Texas A&M transfer Matt Joeckel enter the game should TCU take a big lead early on.

    B.J. Catalon, Junior, Running Back

    The SMU defense also allowed the A&M running game to rack up 300 yards and four touchdowns. Lining up against such a generous rush defense should give B.J. Catalon the chance to cement himself as the Horned Frogs’ feature running back. Look for TCU’s quartet of running backs to establish a rhythm that will open up opportunities for Boykin and the passing attack.

    Kevin White, Senior, Cornerback

    The unenviable task of shutting down SMU’s prolific wide receiver Der’rikk Thompson will fall to senior cornerback Kevin White on Saturday. SMU has heavily relied on Thompson in its first three games, and White will be prepared to shut down the SMU’s best attacking threat. Following head coach June Jones’ resignation in early September, the SMU offense has looked lost and out of sync. Kevin White and the TCU defense will look to ensure SMU doesn’t begin to come into their own on Saturday.