TCU takes the Iron Skillet

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The Iron Skillet is staying in Fort Worth.

No. 16 TCU beat SMU 42-12 Friday night in a sloppy game on Ford Stadium’s damp turf. It’s the seventh-straight victory for the Horned Frogs in the series.

The game was scheduled to start at 7 P.M., but thunderstorms pushed the kickoff back to 9 P.M. SMU came out of the delay energized. On the first drive of the game, the Mustangs’ picked up yardage in chunks, employing the ground game to do so. Braeden West capped the drive off with a 51-yard touchdown run that saw him spin off of a defender and break several tackles.

The Mustangs forced a punt on the ensuing TCU possession and Reggie Roberson returned it inside the TCU 10-yard line. But a flag negated the long return. It was one of several costly penalties committed by the Mustangs.

SMU took a 9-0 lead after TCU’s punter fumbled the snap, picked it up and then fumbled it once again. A Mustang kicked the ball out of bounds and it was ruled a safety. But TCU’s special teams would get its revenge early in the second quarter when KaVontae Turnpin returned Jamie Sackville’s punt 78 yards for a touchdown that cut SMU’s lead to two points. It was the second game in a row where the Mustangs allowed a touchdown on special teams.

“Our whole thing all week is that we are going to kick it out of bounds and try to pin them on the sideline,” SMU head coach Sonny Dykes said. “We just kicked it right to the middle of the field and we knew if that happened it would be a problem. We had a lead at the time, we had some momentum and I felt like it was important that we didn’t give up a big play, but we did exactly that.”

Kevin Robledo converted on a 49-yard field goal on the last play of the first half to cut TCU’s lead to 14-12 going into the break.

Shaine Hailey intercepted TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson on the Horned Frog’s first possession of the second half, but the Mustangs gave the ball back two plays later when Hicks fumbled and Alec Dunham picked it up and returned it 25 yards for a touchdown that put TCU up 21-12. SMU wouldn’t come close again, as the Horned Frogs racked up 28 unanswered points.

Part of that was due to SMU’s offense, which struggled after an impressive first quarter in which it gained 114 yards. Over the final three quarters the offense only mustered up 128 total yards. They couldn’t run the ball, nor could they pass it, and a close game turned into a rout because of the unit’s struggles.

“We had four series in a row where we had a holding penalty,” Dykes said. “That just absolutely killed us. I thought we got behind the chains a little bit and we couldn’t get in front of them. It was problematic.”

TCU’s defense made it hard for the Mustangs to find chunks of yards through the air. The Horned Frogs clamped down on long and intermediate routes, making Ben Hicks’ job even harder. The junior quarterback had just 118 yards through the air and completed just 18 of 38 passes. It was the second straight game where he failed to complete more than 50 percent of his passes.

For Dykes, the loss hammered home the fact that his team isn’t doing the little things correctly.

“We’re just not very good at details,” Dykes said. ”We’re still not executing at the level we need to on offense. We have to be able to move the ball better than we did and score more points.”

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