It’s been debated over and over again. Should we keep playing SMU? We’ll have that debate again later this week (with a proposal), but for now let’s focus on what TCU is facing Saturday.
The Mustangs from across town head to Fort Worth with a 3-0 record, some sweet new threads, and seemingly a little more swagger than we’ve seen from them in years. Former TCU staffer Sonny Dykes is in his second full season at the helm for SMU and his close friend Gary Patterson will provide the Mustangs with their biggest test of the early season.
Current Record & Results
W @ Arkansas State 37-30
W vs. North Texas 49-27
W vs. Texas State 47-17
Texas transfer Shane Buechele is settling in nicely as QB1 for SMU, and he’s played well against lesser competition. With a 66% completion percentage and almost 900 passing yards through three games, Buechele has offered some veteran leadership to an offense that should put up a ton of points throughout the season.
The one interesting nugget about Buechele to this point is the three interceptions he’s thrown. With two picks thrown in his recent outing against Texas State, it’ll be interesting to see him go up against TCU’s ballhawking secondary.
The Frogs have four interceptions through their first two games (and could likely have one or two more), but Buechele is easily the biggest threat in the passing game that TCU has faced to this point.
As for receiving weapons, of which it seems SMU always has a few, TCU fans have two names to keep an eye on. Senior James Proche is a familiar name for Horned Frog fans at this point. Proche has 14 receptions for 209 yards and a touchdown in three previous matchups against the Frogs, and he’s hauled in 17 catches for 214 yards and two touchdowns already this season.
Leading the charge for SMU though is junior Reggie Roberson Jr., who leads the team with 21 catches for 342 yards and two touchdowns.
TCU’s stellar run defense will get a good test as well. Senior Xavier Jones leads a good rushing attack with seven rushing touchdowns already this season. Fellow senior Ke’Mon Freeman has also found some success on the ground early this season.
SMU’s defense has improved week over week, allowing 429 total yards and 30 points to Arkansas State, 396 total yards and 27 points to North Texas, and 244 total yards and 17 points to Texas State.
The level of competition has declined each game, sure, but a trend like this can give a team confidence as they get more comfortable playing with each other.
It should be noted that Arkansas State averaged four yards per carry while North Texas averaged five yards per carry, so if that’s an indicator Darius and Sewo might be set up for big games for a second consecutive week.
The Red Wolves also found major success through the air, throwing for 334 passing yards and four passing touchdowns, so if TCU’s quarterback situation finds any clarity this week that could be something to take advantage of.
Safety Patrick Nelson has flown around the field in three games this season, racking up 20 total tackles, five sacks, and an interception. Senior defensive end Delontae Scott has 5.5 tackles for loss and has been a persistent presence in opposing offenses’ backfields.
Meanwhile, UCLA transfer Brandon Stephens has made an impact in the secondary with five pass breakups this season.
The Frogs have beaten SMU seven consecutive times, and this is the last schedule game between the two long-time rivals. It would be a total shame to see the Frogs drop this game, and I think this is the toughest non-conference game the Frogs have in 2019.
That being said, TCU’s defense is showing signs of being elite, while the running game should be able to support a struggling (for now) passing attack.
TCU 38, SMU 17