If you have a Facebook page and happen to be friends with anyone associated with SMU or TCU you have probably seen a status update about tonight’s game.
The two campuses are about 45 minutes apart, and pit Dallas against Fort Worth in the DFW rivalry. The Horned Frogs have handled the Mustangs over the years, TCU head coach Gary Patterson is 7-1 against SMU during his time leading the Frogs.
But that one game is what SMU fans will use as hope for tonight. The Mustangs (2-1) will kick-off against the No. 4 TCU Horned Frogs (3-0) at 7 p.m. at Ford Stadium with the memories of the game when SMU beat TCU who were coming off a huge upset of Oklahoma.
That game introduced the world to running back DeMyron Martin who scored three touchdowns and rushed for 118 yards in the 21-10 upset. Unfortunately for SMU that was one of only five wins in 2005, that would turn out to be the only loss for TCU who would go on to defeat Iowa State in the EV1.net Houston Bowl.
The Mustangs have their work cut out for them. TCU isn’t coming off a major win and looking past this game. The Frogs know what they need to do to break into the BCS for the second straight season, and possibly play for the BCS National Championship, and that is win and win big.
SMU is currently 18-point underdogs against a TCU team that has won its three games by an average of 33 points a game. But SMU was 14-point underdogs against Texas Tech in Lubbock and lost the game by only eight points after committing four turnovers.
TCU got over the only hurdle they have faced so far this season when they defeated Oregon State 30-21 in Cowboys Stadium in Arlington to open the season. The Frogs then went on to handle Tennessee Tech and Baylor by scores of 62-7 and 45-10 respectively.
SMU quarterback Kyle Padron has never faced the Horned Frogs. In last season’s rainy 39-14 loss Padron was still backing up Bo Levi Mitchell, Mitchell finished the game 17 of 38 with two touchdowns and two interceptions. TCU quarterback Andy Dalton will be playing in his third game against SMU, sporting a 3-0 record.
Dalton went 12 for 20 with two touchdowns and one interception against SMU last season. But it wasn’t the passing game that put away the Mustangs. The Frogs scored three rushing touchdowns and a punt return for a touchdown to put SMU behind. The two passing touchdowns occurred in the fourth quarter with the Mustangs already down 25-14.
This season Padron hasn’t exactly been the same quarterback who ripped apart the Nevada defense in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl, but he has thrown for 643 yards and eight touchdowns in three games, as well as rushing for 116 yards and a touchdown, his only three interceptions came against Texas Tech in the season opener.
The rushing game has been led by sophomore Zach Line, who is replacing last season’s 1,000-yard rusher Shawnbrey McNeil. Line has 276 yards and three touchdowns in three games and is averaging 7.7 yards a carry.
The Mustangs have looked mostly to a core of three receivers this season with Darius Johnson leading the team with 15 receptions, Aldrick Robinson leading the team with 212 yards, and Cole Beasley right between the two in yards and receptions. Johnson and Robinson have three touchdown receptions and Beasley has two.
The key to the Mustangs’ success is ball control. Against Tech they lost the ball four times and only lost the game by eight points. Against UAB, SMU’s only turnover, a fumble, led to UAB’s only touchdown of the game. And against Washington State a fumbled punt led to WSU tying the game at 14 at halftime.
The Boulevard opens early and there will be a flyover of U.S. Air Force T-38s before the 7p.m. kickoff.