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TCU vs. SMU: Keys to the Game

Here’s how the Frogs can get the W on Saturday.

TCU v SMU Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images

TCU’s Ground Game Needs to Keep Churning

TCU’s offensive game plan against Arkansas worked to near perfection, save for a couple of missed opportunities (fumble at the 5 and a dropped TD reception). The crux of that game plan? Ground and pound the ball to wear down the opposing defense with some well-executed passes sprinkled in. That kind of ball control inadvertently produced another positive impact- it also helped limit the amount of opportunities Kenny Hill could make throwing the ball.

TCU’s Defense Needs to... Continue Being TCU’s Defense

Nothing fancy here, boys. The big nasties up front need to continue to plug holes against the run and put pressure on Pony quarterback Ben Hicks. The linebackers will have to be just as speedy in coverage with SMU’s short passing game as anyone, and the secondary will have to swarm but stay tight in coverage to ensure they aren’t beat on deep balls (something that isn’t exactly Hicks’ forte).

SMU Receivers Not Named Courtland Sutton

In order for SMU to have a chance at pulling the upset, they’ll have to rely more heavily on receivers like Trey Quinn, James Proche, and Brandon Benson. Sutton is either going to get his in single coverage and a half-decent throw from Hicks, or the TCU defense will stick a safety over the top and force Hicks to go elsewhere.

SMU’s Ground Game vs. Third Downs

Same goes for the SMU running backs and offensive line. SMU must convert third downs in order to keep their defense off the field and the ball out of TCU’s playmakers on offense. Converting third downs with regularity generally means putting your offense in third-and-short situations, done with all kinds of runs and short passes (the latter of which SMU has done well with so far this year). They’ll be going up against TCU’s monster defensive line, however, so setting the tone here early and switching up looks late will be crucial for SMU.