(VIDEO ABOVE: TCU WR EMANUEL PORTER)
FORT WORTH, Tex. – For the 96th time TCU (2-1, 1-0) and SMU (2-1) will square of on Friday for the battle of the Iron Skillet. The Frogs hold the overall advantage 48-40-7 and have won 14 of their last 16 games in the rivalry.
“It’s always a big game,” said Patterson, who boasts a 12-2 record against the Mustangs. “It is a crosstown rival and always very intense. Chad Morris and his crew – I think they have done a great job.”
Morris is in his second season at the Hilltop and is 4-11 overall with the Mustangs after inheriting a team that went just 1-11 in 2014. In week two, SMU was tied 6-6 with No. 19 Baylor at halftime, before dropping the contest 40-13. The Mustangs have wins over North Texas and Liberty at this point.
“SMU is playing very well. The bottom line is they move the football,” said Patterson. “Defensively they have a lot of takeaways. Anytime you do that, you are going to give yourself a chance to play a lot better football.”
Last season in front of their home crowd, No. 3 TCU dropped SMU 56-37, scoring 14 unanswered in the fourth quarter to pull away. SMU at one point in the game scored 20 unanswered to put within 42-37.
“I hurt us against SMU,” said Patterson regarding last year. “I think I ran their legs into the ground (at practice). We aren’t going to do that this week…I’m going to make sure we are not a tired football team.”
Patterson was asked how he would adjust the schedule to accommodate a Friday night game?
“We just won’t go in pads as much with an earlier game,” said Patterson. “You still do everything, but you just won’t fit with the pads as much.”
TCU being as fresh as possible will be crucial over the next three weeks. After their rivalry game with the Mustangs, TCU will play formerly ranked Oklahoma and Kansas – both who will have two weeks to prepare for the Frogs.
“You are going to get two teams who are fresh and one is going to be upset because they haven’t played since the Ohio State game,” said Patterson.
Wide-receiver and kick/punt returner KaVontae Turpin left Saturday’s contest against Iowa State with what is rumored to be a PCL tear. While there is still no conformation on the injury, Patterson hinted Tuesday that Turpin will not be playing for the foreseeable future.
“We’re hurt in the special teams having to find the next kick-off and punt returner,” Patterson said. “We need to find the next two guys and get them ready to go.”
Patterson did not release names of who will be filling in for Turpin when it comes to returning Kkcks. Cornerback Ranthony Texada could be a likely candidate, having returned kicks for TCU in 2014 and on Saturday following Turpin’s exit.
Without Turpin on the field, the Frogs lose their top wide-receiver on the roster this season, as Turpin leads the TCU receiving corps with 196 receiving yards through three games, with 126 coming against Arkansas alone. He also combined for 115 yards in punt returns over that same period
- Dean Straka
Along with Oklahoma, TCU is one of only two teams in the Big 12 to utilize a grass field in their home stadium. This weekend the Frogs will be in for a change of scenery against SMU, as they not only embark on their first road game of 2016, but will also play on artificial-turf field.
And interestingly, Patterson thinks the change of turf will play to the Frogs’ advantage when it comes to speed.
“We’ve had a slow track out here. I think you will see a faster football team this weekend. What I watch on the game field and the indoor practice field are two different things.
Patterson said such an effect from different playing surfaces was evident when the Frogs stormed into the 2014 Peach Bowl to stun Ole Miss with a 42-3 victory.
“Hugh Freeze said that year that he was very surprised with our speed, and that season we played a lot of our big games at home [on a grass field],” Patterson said. “The game field was not to our advantage on Saturday, it was a bit soggy. The turf helps your pass rush, covering skills, all of the above.”
Despite that, Patterson said he doesn’t want TCU to implement an astro-turf field at Amon G. Carter Stadium.
“Can you imagine how hot it would have been on Saturday if we were on turf?” Patterson jokingly remarked.
* Nebraska kicker Jonathan Song (toe) could potentially be ready to go next week for Oklahoma said Patterson. Song is kicking field goals from 40 yards, but the confidence level is not quite there yet. How he will fit in at the kicker spot remains unknown. Through three games, Ryan Graf and Brandon Hatfield are four-of-five on field goals and have been 18-for-18 on extra points.
* Senior Deante Gray got the start at corner on Saturday, after switching over from the wide receiver spot earlier in the week. Patterson was happy with his production and feels he will be even better against the Mustangs. He is a candidate to still continue to get reps at wide receiver. “I don’t think people understand how hard it is to move over on Sunday and play in a Division I football game,” said Patterson. “He gave up one catch and knocked another ball away.”
* While SMU has a winning record, making a bowl game would be a major accomplishment for the Mustangs. While this game is usually close, TCU needs a big win to help put their struggles against Arkansas and even South Dakota State in the mirror. Ultimately winning changes all, but winning big against opponents they are favorites in will help the TCU image the later they get into the season.