FACTS & STATS: Site: Gerald J. Ford Stadium (32,000) — Dallas, Texas.
Television: CBSSN. Home Record: TCU 2-0, SMU 0-1. Away Record: TCU 0-0, SMU
0-2. Neutral Record: TCU 0-0, SMU 0-0. Conference Record: TCU 0-0, SMU 0-0.
Series Record: TCU leads, 46-40-7.
GAME NOTES: Following the team’s second bye week this season, the TCU Horned
Frogs will once again hit the field with fresh legs as they travel to face the
SMU Mustangs in a non-conference tilt at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas on
TCU last played a game on Sept. 13 against Minnesota, and easily handled the
Golden Gophers, 30-7. This will be the first road contest for the Big 12
Conference Horned Frogs, who only play outside the state of Texas twice this
season. This matchup with the Mustangs is the final non-conference clash of
the season for TCU.
SMU, of the American Athletic Conference, is off to a rough start in 2014. The
Mustangs are 0-3 after dropping contests to Baylor, North Texas and Texas A&M
in what has been a challenging non-conference slate. The team has also had
June Jones step down and Tom Mason take on the head coaching duties on an
The two sides have met numerous times throughout their program histories. TCU
owns a relatively slim 46-40-7 all-time series record over the Mustangs. The
teams have met on the field every year for the past seven seasons. SMU last
beat TCU in 2011 in an overtime contest.
Finding ways to generate offense hasn’t been an issue for the Horned Frogs
this season. Although it’s a small sample size, TCU is averaging 39 ppg and a
stellar 491 combined offensive ypg against two capable opponents. It all
starts under center for the Frogs, who can rely on Trevone Boykin to get the
job done through the air and on the ground. Against Minnesota, Boykin passed
for 258 yards, two touchdowns and an interception, and added a team-best 92
rushing yards on a TCU-high 12 carries. He has four total touchdown passes
through two games.
The ground attack is Boykin’s to command as well. The junior quarterback has
attempted the most rushes (22) and gained the most yards (121) of any ball
carrier this season. But if all else fails, B.J. Catalon is there to pick up
the slack. Catalon has a team-high two rushing scores through two games.
Only one player has recorded double-digit receptions for TCU through two
games. David Porter has caught 10 passes for 113 yards and a touchdown, with
players like Ty Slanina (nine receptions) and Josh Doctson (eight receptions,
two touchdowns) right in the mix. Doctson was active for Boykin against
Minnesota, hauling in six passes for 64 yards and a pair of scores.
Again, small sample size, but TCU’s defense has handled itself very well
against an above average FCS program (Samford) and a Big Ten team. The Frogs
are allowing 10.5 ppg through two contests, and are holding teams to a mere
205.5 total offensive ypg. The stifling unit also forced Minnesota quarterback
Mitch Leidner to throw three interceptions.
Linebacker Paul Dawson has played exceptionally well in two games for the
Horned Frogs, racking up 24 tackles with a team-high four for a loss. He’s one
of four players to have an interception as well. Defensive end Mike Tuaua has
notched a pair of sacks through two games, and is part of a defense allowing
just 93 rushing ypg to opponents.
That shouldn’t fare too well for SMU, which has struggled mightily this season
in terms of scoring. In three games, the Mustangs have scored a combined 12
points, which includes a shutout at the hands of Baylor in the first week of
the season. The team was pummeled by Texas A&M last weekend, and could only
manage two field goals against the Aggies. In over 36 minutes of possession,
SMU accumulated 241 yards of offense and averaged 3.4 yards per play. The
team’s 4.0 ppg mark is dead last in the entire FBS nation.
Three different quarterbacks have attempted at least 24 passes this season,
and as a unit the team sports a 1-3 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Kolney
Cassel has the team’s only touchdown pass, but Garrett Krstich saw the
majority of time under center against Texas A&M with 24 pass attempts. Through
the air this season, SMU is averaging 165.3 passing ypg.
The rushing game for the Mustangs is virtually non-existent. As a unit, SMU is
averaging a dismal 29.3 rushing ypg (last in the nation), and 1.1 yards per
rush. The team did manage 102 net rushing yards against the Aggies, though.
With Kevin Pope (86 yards on 25 carries) leading the charge, there’s hope that
the Mustangs can turn it around on the ground.
It’s a bit unfair to criticize the team’s defense for giving up so many points
through the first three games, considering the quality of opponents the team
has played. Baylor, North Texas and Texas A&M have collectively scored 146
points to SMU’s 12, so TCU will be ready to do the same this weekend. The
Mustangs enter the game allowing 530 offensive ypg, including 258 rushing ypg.
Boykin for TCU will be ready to take advantage of the poor defense in Dallas.
Darrion Richardson has led the team defensively through the first three
contests, and was the leading tackler against Texas A&M with 11 stops. On the
season, Richardson has 20 tackles with two pass breakups, although Ajee Montes
is right behind Richardson’s total with 19. With the one interception and two
forced fumbles collectively, the Mustangs need to force more turnovers in
order to stay competitive.
Unless something drastically changes for SMU, the Mustangs are in for a long
outing against TCU, which will have no trouble whatsoever posting a point
total far beyond the reach of the SMU offense. The Horned Frogs will score
early and not look back in a battle for their third victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: TCU 42, SMU 10