FORT WORTH, Texas — Mustang quarterback Shane Buechele threw for 288 yards with two touchdowns and ran for a score as SMU beat No. 25 TCU 41-38, ending a seven-game losing streak in the matchup and improving to 4-0 for the first time since 1984.
It was a consistent offensive attack that led SMU to the Iron Skillet rivalry win the first for SMU since 2005, and the second since 2011. Their last 4-0 start came when TCU and SMU were Southwest Conference rivals, not long before sanctions led to the NCAA’s so-called death penalty when the Mustangs didn’t field a team in 1987 nor 1988.
“It’s hard to put stuff in context, maybe during the season,” head coach Sonny Dykes said after the game. “You don’t really allow yourself to do it. … But, you know, it’s gratifying to beat a good football team. When you play against a really good team, and you find a way to win, you do it on the road, it’s gratifying.”
TCU freshman quarterback Max Duggan’s third touchdown pass of the second half came with 3:37 left on the clock. The Frogs got the ball back a minute later after a three-and-out by the Mustangs, including a bad snap that resulted in a 23-yard loss.
The Frogs had held their opponents to an average of 209 yards per game this season, SMU had 137 yards after just two drives, and had 406 total yards when it was all over.
“It feels really good, they’re a tough team. My freshman and sophomore year, they were really good on defense too. They’re still good on defense. But it was important for us to go get the win.” QB Shane Buechele said.
TCU coach Gary Patterson opted against trying a 51-yard field goal attempt, Duggan’s fourth-down toss came up a little short and SMU ran out the clock.
On the first series of the game, SMU had a double reverse play that included a pitch back to Buechele, who then threw a 46-yard dart to Kylen Granson. That set up first-and-goal, and Buechele took it in from the one.
Xavier Jones ran for 79 yards with a touchdown, and caught a 3-yard TD early in the fourth quarter for a 38-24 lead. That ended an 84-yard drive that started when the Frogs running back Sewo Olonilua lined up in wildcat formation on fourth-and-1 and was sacked for a 6-yard loss when he looked downfield to throw the ball.
Olonilua fumbled at TCU’s 4 in the first quarter, giving the Mustangs the ball back right after Buechele was stopped for no gain on fourth-and-goal from the 1-yard line. That set up a 1-yard TD run by Jones.
SMU weathered all the gut punches thrown their way. After a Buechele interception in the first half, a TCU player literally threw an SMU player’s helmet across the turf. No official saw. On the next play, Darius Anderson ran for 72 yards.
“I think every single week, we get a little more confident. Rely on each other a little more, have more belief in each other. It’s gratifying to see that. Because it’s kind of a young group, and a group that came into the year with some question marks about them. I think for the last couple weeks those guys have really played well.” SMU coach Sonny Dykes said.