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TCU vs. SMU: 5 Things to Know

The Battle for the Iron Skillet took a backseat to COVID-19 in 2020, but the rivalry will be renewed this weekend.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 21 SMU at TCU Photo by Matthew Visinsky/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

After the first bye week of the 2021, head coach Gary Patterson and the TCU Horned Frogs will return to Amon G. Carter Stadium for their third consecutive home game to kick off the season. This time, TCU will host SMU with the Iron Skillet on the line in what will be the 100th all-time matchup between the two rival schools. Here are five things to know.

1. Gary Patterson appears laser-focused on the Mustangs

TCU lost the rights to the Iron Skillet in 2019, falling 41-38 and suffering its first defeat at the hands of the Mustangs in seven years. Judging from his recent media appearance during the week, Patterson looks hellbent on ensuring the Horned Frogs don’t lose again.

Patterson even went on to critique TCU for posting information about its upcoming home contest against Texas, citing the fact his team had a game with SMU coming up. Patterson also threw some gamesmanship into the mix, responding to a question about Noah Daniels and Khari Coleman’s availability with a noncommittal answer. Daniels and Coleman, two of the team’s top defenders, have been out since the season started with injuries.

2. Here’s how SMU won against LA Tech last weekend

The Mustangs found themselves locked into an offensive shootout against LA Tech on Saturday in what ultimately became a battle between two Oklahoma castaways in quarterbacks Tanner Mordecai (SMU) and Austin Kendall (LA Tech). The Bulldogs appeared to have had the game won until this final play occurred with only seconds remaining.

SMU remained unbeaten on the season with a Hail Mary from Mordecai, who has had a tremendous start to the 2021 campaign. Through three games, Mordecai has already thrown for a career-high 1,023 yards and 16 touchdowns with only two interceptions. The former four-star recruit could create problems for the Horned Frog secondary that struggled to defend the deep ball during TCU’s home victory against California, but Patterson reiterated during his press conference that he thinks otherwise.

3. The trash talk has already begun, at least from one side

Rivalries always spark up trash talk and the Battle for the Iron Skillet is no different. SMU wide receiver Rashee Rice made headlines earlier this week, comparing Dallas and Fort Worth in a fashion that, let’s just say, doesn’t shine a very favorable light on TCU’s home city.

The comments about TCU being “scared” to face SMU are obviously false, as the athletic directors of both schools have already clarified. But the statement from Rice was clearly enough to warrant a response from Patterson, who credited Rice as a good player and offered some additional insight that, perhaps, could’ve ruffled some feathers? The dust will settle when the two private-school programs square off in The Carter on Saturday.

4. TCU leads the all-time series against SMU

Saturday will commemorate the 100th matchup between the Horned Frogs and Mustangs, with TCU currently holding a 51-41-7 all-time record against SMU. The Horned Frogs are 16-3 against the Mustangs in the 21st century, while SMU dominated TCU with 15 consecutive victories from 1972-86. Interestingly, 2020’s cancellation due to the COVID-19 pandemic marked the first time TCU and SMU didn’t play each other since 2006.

5. SMU head coach Sonny Dykes once worked under Gary Patterson

Dykes was named head coach of the Mustangs in December 2017 and has compiled a 22-14 record since taking over the program. Prior to his start in Dallas, however, Dykes spent one season as an offensive analyst with Patterson and TCU during the 2017 season. Dykes was previously the head coach at California, who the Horned Frogs defeated just recently.