Rivalry games are always special to the players taking part in them, and to the fans cheering them on. However, this weekend the Texas Christian University (TCU) Horned Frogs and the Southern Methodist University (SMU) Mustangs hold special importance as they face each other in their 100th edition of the Battle for the Iron Skillet.
SMU goes into the weekend with a strong 3-0 record. However, the teams they have played were teams they were expected to beat. While their record says they are a good team this season, SMU needs to gain legitimacy by playing and beating better teams like the Horned Frogs.
SMU head coach Sonny Dykes recently talked about what it means to his team to play someone like TCU:
“When you play a team that’s in the Big 12, that helps, but the most important thing is figuring out how to win football games, and the longer you do that, the more respect you get. If you want to be a big-time program, you’ve got to win some big-time games, so that’s what we’re striving to do.”
Does SMU have what it takes to defeat TCU and bring home the Iron Skillet in back-to-back games for the first time since the 1992 and ’93 seasons?
Oddsmakers do not seem to think so. DraftKings has TCU listed as a 9.5-point favorite. However, even with these odds, it would be foolish to rule the Mustangs out. SMU currently has the No. 12 passing attack in the country with over 340 yards a game.
Buoyed by a seven-touchdown game against Abilene Christian, SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai leads the nation with 16-touchdowns through three games. He continues to remain focused on what is ahead and is not too concerned with his stats:
“I don’t care too much about all of those stats. I wouldn’t care if we had 16 rushing touchdowns right now. All that matters is we’re 3-0, and I think we’re building as an offense, and we’re going in the right direction.”
Mordecai may not find it as easy to throw against the TCU defense. Through two games so far this season, TCU ranks 49 in passing yards allowed and ranks 99th in team passing defense efficiency.
The Horned Frogs will also provide the pressure to the Mustangs with their balanced offense. TCU is averaging this season with 243.5 yards per game in the air and 224.5 yards per game on the ground. If the Mustangs are to claim a victory this weekend, it will likely be because of their passing game, but their 109th ranked defense will need to step up to hold TCU back.
Both teams are sure to bring the heat this weekend, and Dallas College football fans are ready to see who will bring home the Iron Skillet and if the Mustangs have what it takes to prove that they are a team to be reckoned with.