FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) — SMU’s schedule was set long before Chad Morris became the Mustangs’ head coach, at a time when TCU and Baylor weren’t both top five teams.
Morris has talked about wanting to get the Mustangs to that kind of level. But their first-year head coach knows it could take some time.
While SMU (1-1) has already matched its 2014 season victory total, that was a home win against North Texas after losing 56-21 to fifth-ranked Baylor in its opener.
Now the Mustangs play the other defending Big 12 co-champion, going on the road for the first time with Morris. They are at the third-ranked Horned Frogs (2-0) on Saturday night.
“They’ve got several guys that can run and have elite speed and talent at the skill positions. We’ve seen it. We obviously saw it early in the year,” Morris said. “Just because you see it, we didn’t do a good job stopping it.”
Heisman Trophy hopeful Trevone Boykin and the Frogs followed their opening victory at Big Ten team Minnesota with a 70-7 win over FCS team Stephen F. Austin in their home opener. They have won 10 in a row, second only to defending national champion Ohio State’s 15-game winning streak.
SMU has its own dual-threat quarterback in Matt Davis. The junior who started his career at Texas A&M behind Johnny Manziel has thrown for 337 yards and four touchdowns, and run for a team-high 240 yards and two mores scores.
While TCU’s injury plagued defense is filled with youngsters, including freshmen starting at both linebacker spots, they have held their own so far. And they are used to go against Boykin and the Frogs’ up-tempo offense in practice.
Returning defensive line starters Davion Pierson and James McFarland haven’t played yet because of injuries. Senior safety Kenny Iloka sustained a right knee injury last week, and both starting linebackers from the first game are also gone — one to an injury and the other leaving the team for personal reasons.
“This season’s not any different because of the high expectations,” TCU coach Gary Patterson said. “This season’s different because we’ve had injuries, the guys we’ve lost.”
Here are a few things to know when the former Southwest Conference rivals play in the Battle for the Iron Skillet:
COMPARISON GAME: TCU and Baylor were snubbed for the first College Football Playoff last season, but are both expected to contend for one of those four spots this year. While this is the first chance in 2015 for people to compare them against a common opponent, Patterson doesn’t really have that same thought. “I don’t listen to it if they say Baylor played better than we did, and I don’t listen to if they say we played better,” Patterson said. “Because it won’t matter until we play Baylor.” That won’t be until after Thanksgiving.
GREEN RECEIVER: Redshirt freshman Courtland Sutton is SMU’s leading receiver with eight catches for 147 yards and three TDs. “He’s so raw and so green. He doesn’t realize how good he can be,” Morris said. “He’s taking great pride in his role and will become one of the top wide receivers in the country before it’s all over with. But right now, he’s just a redshirt freshman that’s trying to figure out where all his classes are located at.”
FROG AND PONY SHOW: This is the 95th meeting between SMU and TCU; the first came in 1915. The Frogs have won 13 of the last 15 meetings to take a 47-40-7 series lead, and their 56-0 win last season was the most lopsided game ever between the teams in Dallas and Fort Worth.
EQUAL STANDING: The Horned Frogs are one of only three teams ranked in the top 20 nationally in both total offense and total defense. They are 17th in both categories, averaging 538 total yards per game, and giving up less than half of that (254 yards a game).