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TCU 42, SMU 34: Iron Skillet Returns to Fort Worth

Duggan and Miller turn in star performances to propel the Frogs to victory in Sonny Dykes’ first return to former home.

Kendre Miller ran wild through SMU’s defense all day
Photo by George Walker/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The TCU Horned Frogs ensured the safe return of the Iron Skillet to its rightful home in Fort Worth on Saturday with a 42-34 victory over the SMU Mustangs on Saturday.

In his third game versus the Mustangs, Max Duggan turned in a top performance, throwing for 278 yards with a 76% completion percentage and 3 TDs. Duggan got the scoring going early, as a quick drive off the opening kickoff ended with a Duggan rollout and sling into the endzone hauled in for Savion Williams’ first collegiate TD.

Duggan’s third TD of the first half was one he gets credit for, but was really all Derius Davis doing Derius Davis things; he took the tap-pass and turn on the jets to fly past the SMU defenders for an 80-yard score.

Dykes was emotional in his praise for Duggan post game “I’m probably as proud of Max as any player I’ve ever been around” citing the obstacles he’s overcome, including losing the starting job to begin the season, and his attitude throughout it all.

It was all Frogs in the first quarter, as Kendre Miller began his dominant day with a 28-yard TD run. Miller had a standout day with 142 yards on just 17 carries (8.4 ypc) after failing to break 60 yards in the first two games of the season. Miller wasn’t the only member of the backfield to run wild in Dallas, Emari Demarcado posted 64 yards and 2 TDs on 10 carries, including what was essentially the game sealing score, hitting the hole and sprinting away from all defenders for 63 yards to put the Frogs up 15 with 2:31 remaining.

The TCU defense mostly did its job all game as well, earning three sacks and intercepting 2 Tanner Mordecai passes. Mordecai and Public Enemy #1 Rashee Rice still put up solid statistics through the air, if it wasn’t known what they’ve done on the season one might even be impressed with 372 yards passing for Mordecai, 74 of which went to Rice. However, for Rice that’s nearly 100 yards under his season average, and other than drawing some questionable pass interference penalties and a TD just before halftime (which was quite possibly to certainly a push-off, but the ESPNU camera work was so bad it’s impossible to see on replay), Rice was held in check. Tre Siggers got into the endzone 3 times, so if he’s on your fantasy roster you may be happy, but the SMU running game only ran for 104 total yards - Siggers had more than that himself vs. the Frogs in 2021 and wasn’t the leading rusher in that game.

The defensive play of the game was early in the 4th quarter; SMU had scored before Half then scored again in the 3rd Quarter to make it a one-score game and now were driving with the chance to tie. Tanner Mordecai launched a deep pass on a first down and TCU’s Josh Newton went up and got it, returning 32 yards and setting up a TCU TD. Newton also summed up the game nicely:

The game ended with the Frogs in victory formation after SMU was called for a penalty on a final minute punt after consuming all its timeouts, giving TCU a first down and the chance to run out the clock.

The Frogs ended the 2-game winning streak that SMU previously held in the series by taking its seventh straight at Ford Stadium, improving to 52-42-7 all-time versus the Mustangs. TCU advanced to 3-0 for the first time since 2017 and is the only remaining undefeated FBS team in the state of Texas. SMU dropped to 2-2 and will open its American conference schedule in Orlando against UCF next Saturday. TCU gets its conference schedule started next week as well, with Oklahoma coming to Fort Worth on Saturday.