BY: Richard W. Humphrey
FT. WORTH, Texas – SMU’s bid to upset a ranked team fell short Saturday as TCU won the battle for the iron skillet 56-36. The Mustangs struck first with a 58 yard touchdown pass, and led for most of the first half. The game turned when the Frogs hit a 38 yard “Hail Mary” pass on the last play of the first half. The Frogs took a 28-22 lead to the halftime locker room and never trailed again.
Both teams scored touchdowns on their opening possession of the second half to bring the score to 35-29, but that was as close as the Mustangs would get after intermission. The Horned Frogs dominated for the balance of the game.
SMU Head Coach Chad Morris has said there are no moral victories. However, this game was one of them. SMU scored 36 points against one of the best defenses in the country, a defense that had given up just one touchdown on the season prior to Saturday’s game. TCU has consistently ranked higher than SMU in the recruiting class rankings. The Mustangs had their chances to win last Saturday, but TCU with better players and more of them prevailed at the end.
TCU’s game plan was to shut down SMU’s All-American wide receiver candidate – Courtland Sutton. It worked as Sutton caught just one pass. However, that left Trey Quinn open for a big day. The LSU transfer caught seven passes for 116 yards and a touchdown. He also completed a 34 yard pass.
SMU quarterback Ben Hicks had a big day completing 17 of 37 for 305 yards and two touchdowns. He went the whole way, as backup signal caller D. J. Gillens was not available to play – out with a toe inury. The Mustangs rolled up 463 yards of offense. On the defensive side of the ball, the Mustangs grabbed three turnovers, but the offense was able to convert them into just six points. With TCU’s big second half, the Frogs struck for 613 yards of total offense.
TCU improved to 3-0 on the season with the win. They moved up to number 16 (AP) and 15 (Coaches’) in the two major polls this week. They will be tested strongly next week as they travel to Stillwater to face number 6 (AP) and 7 (Coaches’) Oklahoma State. Oklahoma State is an 11-1/2 point favorite.
The Mustangs’ record is 2-1, and they return home for a critical game against Arkansas State this Saturday night. The Red Wolves are 1-1, having lost their opener to Nebraska, and they beat Arkansas-Pine Bluff. They were also originally scheduled to play the Miami Hurricaes, but that game was cancelled due to Hurricane Irma. Saturday’s game time is 6:00 PM (Central). It will be streamed on ESPN3, and broadcast in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area on KTCK, the Ticket, 96.7 FM and AM 1310. The Mustangs are favored by 4-1/2 to five points.
MEN’S BASKETBALL: The Men’s basketball schedule was announced this week. The home schedule includes non-conference games in November against UMBC (10th), Louisiana-Monroe (12th), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (18th) and UTRGV (28th). The December non-conference home games are against Southern Cal (2nd), New Orleans (13th), Boise State (18th), and Cal Poly (19th).
Conference play begins at home with games against Central Florida on December 27 and South Florida on the 31st. The three January home conference games are Temple (10th), Tulane (20th) and East Carolina (28th). In February, Cincinnati comes to Moody Coliseum on the 11th, Memphis on the 14th, Wichita State on the 24th, and home schedule concludes on Februaty 28 against Houston.
MEN’S SOCCER: THe Mustangs posted a pair of shutouts last week beating Loyola of Maryland 4-0 and Brown 1-0. That puts the Mustangs at 6-1 for the season. Jordan Cano was named as the Conference Defensive Player of the week, while Garrett McLaughlin and Michael Nelson were named to the weekly honor roll.
The Ponies next game is this Sunday at home against Tulsa, which is ranked 20th in the nation. Sunday’s game marks the opening of conference play.
* Justin Lawler was named as the American Athletic Conference defensive player of the week after the Stephen F. Austin game, and Courtland Sutton was named as the confernce offensive player of the week after the University of North Texas game, in which he set the conference record by catching four touchdown passes in a game.
* After Sunday’s game between Dallas and Denver, former SMU receivers Cole Beasley (Cowboys) and Emmanuel Sanders (Broncos) exchanged jerseys.