SMU Mustangs at #25 TCU Horned Frogs: Battle for the Iron Skillet Game Preview

The Iron Skillet game has a lot of history along with Metroplex bragging rights at stake. Photo Courtesy: Michael Kolch

By Zach Walker

Game Info
SMU Mustangs vs #25 TCU Horned Frogs
Saturday – September 21 – 2:30 p.m.
Amon G. Carter Stadium – Ft. Worth, TX

Records Before the Game
SMU Mustangs: 3-0; 0-0 in AAC (Last Week: W vs Texas State 47-17)
#25 TCU Horned Frogs: 2-0; 0-0 in Big XII (Last Week: W at Purdue 34-13)

Who’s got the advantage?
When SMU has the ball: It didn’t start the way the Mustangs would have drawn it up, going into halftime with the lead 13 to Texas State’s 3. Tale of two halves isn’t quite strong enough. It seemed like they finally realized they were reading the play sheet upside-down and totally started getting to it. The impressive thing was in the second half, the big men for SMU took the offense over and landed every block out there and led to 34 second half points and help pave the way for two one-hundred yard rushers. It was more likely that Xavier Jones would reach the century mark (he did) but freshman TJ McDaniel was cracking off dingers on the way to a 159 yard game off of only eight carries and three rushing scores. The big middle of the SMU offensive line had an absolute gem of a game; left to right, Hayden Howerton, Alan Ali, Cobe Bryant were plowing out there, looking as sort of an homage to the big team in town. Howerton catching my eye a few times on pulls, doing his best Zack Martin impression. The amazing thing was against Texas State was they didn’t get the most polished game from Shane Buechele, leaned run, and got the result. It was the most mortal Buechele has looked through three games, but it was still pretty darn good, it was just a pair of very avoidable interceptions early in the game, with the one where he was rolling right trying to loft it just over a covering Bobcat defender and him making the play look very foolish.

This isn’t the sort of game where surviving those times of mistakes is going to be easy or advisable, the Mustangs offense is going to have to have a hyper-polished gameplan and excellent execution. The Mustangs’ offense is going to have to identify where linebacker Garret Wallow is before every play and Dee Winters is a lot like the Mustangs’ Patrick Nelson, a dangerous safety that can be found on seemingly every single inch of the field. This TCU defense went into Purdue and kicked their shoes into their ‘fridge and laid across all of their heirlooms, using their pets as pillows. Keeping the Boilermakers under 200 yards through the air and under forty yards on the ground.

When TCU has the ball: As per usual for TCU, they have the ground game working. And to go into a Big Ten stadium and throw the weight around on the ground, breaking off 300+ yards, that’s imposing your will. The Horned Frogs didn’t lean on their quarterback Max Duggan at Purdue, but when you’ve got the train rolling, why change the tide? The backs for TCU Darius Anderson and the big man Sewo Olonilua are going to issues for SMU. Anderson because he’s exceptionally balanced, and Olonilua because he’s freight, he’s a diesel amongst gas, he’s not like anything the AAC is likely to throw SMU’s way the remainder of the season. It’s going to have to be a game from the Mustangs on defense, I won’t say perfection is required, but it’s going to need to be close to triple-20’s on the dart board.

What will it take for the Mustangs to win?
It’s going to take a mindset to beat this TCU team. They’ll have to ride the bus pissed, suit up angry, warm-up with an edge, take the coin flip with a chip, and start the game with such confidence. Upsets are a mental portion of football. If the Mustangs are to win, they’ll have to have won during this week.

Prediction – in 2OT
SMU 44
TCU 40