It’s a non-conference battle on the gridiron between a pair of teams from the Lone Star State when a member of the Big 12 takes on a program from the AAC. The TCU Horned Frogs are on the road as they make the in-state trek to face the SMU Mustangs as Sonny Dykes returns to face his former employer. TCU was off last week and rolled to an easy 59-17 home win over FCS program Tarleton in their previous contest September 10. SMU battled but ended up falling short, losing 34-27, on the road against Maryland. In the all-time series between the teams, the Horned Frogs own a 50-41-7 advantage though SMU has won the last two meetings. That includes a 42-34 victory on the road in the most recent meeting on September 25, 2021.
TCU Horned Frogs Looking to Remain UnbeatenTCU has had two weeks to prepare for this game as they were off last week after waffling Tarleton in their home opener in their most recent contest. The Horned Frogs look to keep rolling as coach Dykes returns to face the program he coached for the previous four seasons. Against Tarleton, TCU was up 21-0 after the opening quarter and 28-0 early in the second quarter. The lead was 38-7 at the half and the Horned Frogs cruised the rest of the way. TCU rolled up a commanding 630-295 advantage in total offense, piled up a 28-13 edge in first downs and owned a 34:42 to 25:18 edge in time of possession. They also forced a pair of takeaways while only committing one turnover in the contest.
On the year, TCU comes into this contest ranked tied for 27th in the FBS in passing offense with 294 yards per game while they are 19th in rushing offense by grinding out 227.5 yards per contest. The Horned Frogs are 9th in the nation in scoring offense by putting up 48.5 points per contest while they are 31st in scoring defense as they give up only 15 points per game. Max Duggan is 25 of 32 passing for 417 yards with five touchdowns and no interceptions while adding 44 yards on the ground. Chandler Morris is 13 of 20 for 111 yards while adding 18 yards on the ground: he suffered a sprained knee in the opener against Colorado. Sam Jackson (four of four, 58 yards, 69 rushing yards, two TD) and Josh Hoover (one of one, two yards) have seen work in garbage time. Kendre Miller leads the team with 21 carries for 108 yards plus two scores. Emani Bailey (seven carries, 89 yards, TD) and Emari Demercado (10 carries, 56 yards, TD) are capable backs as well. Jordan Hudson leads the team with six receptions for 84 yards plus a score. Taye Barber (four grabs, 75 yards), Blake Nowell (four catches, 69 yards) and Gunnar Henderson (two receptions, 56 yards) each have more than 50 receiving yards this season. Luke Laminack is six of seven on extra points and one of two on field goal attempts with a long of 36. Griffin Kell hit all five extra points and his lone field goal try from 33 this season.
SMU Mustangs Try to Bounce Back, Down Former CoachSMU battled but couldn’t come up with the clutch plays down the stretch against Maryland, falling a touchdown short on the road. The Mustangs fell to 2-1 on the season with the loss and try to take down their former coach in this contest. Against Maryland, SMU held a 520-439 edge in total offense, rolled up 30 first downs while allowing 16 and held a 31:30 to 28:30 advantage in time of possession. The Mustangs led 27-20 after three quarters before getting outscored 14-0 in the final stanza to end up with the loss. SMU was hurt by three turnovers as they were unable to capitalize on two takeaways or 15 Maryland penalties in the contest.
The Mustangs enter this game 10th in the FBS in passing offense as they average 346.7 yards per game through the air while they are 63rd in rushing offense with 169.7 yards per game. SMU is 30th in the nation in scoring offense as they put up 40 points per game while they are 47th in scoring defense by allowing an average of 20 points per game. Tanner Mordecai is 70 of 117 passing this season for 1,013 yards with 10 touchdowns against three interceptions while adding 11 yards on the ground. Preston Stone is six of seven for 27 yards and an interception while adding five yards plus a score on the ground. TJ McDaniel leads the ground game with 24 carries for 156 yards plus two scores. Tre Siggers (31 carries, 140 yards, TD) and Velton Gardner (16 carries, 122 yards) are capable of sharing the load. Rashee Rice is far and away the top receiving threat as he has 28 catches for 491 yards plus three scores. Jordan Kerley (six catches, 133 yards, TD), RJ Maryland (four grabs, 88 yards, TD) and Roderick Daniels Jr. (two catches, 76 yards, TD) each are over the 75-yard mark receiving this season. Collin Rogers has hit all 15 extra point attempts and five of six field goal attempts with a long of 43 this year.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This one is going to be a dandy as Dykes gets a shot at facing his former team. Duggan was dynamic after stepping in for the injured Morris in the opener and then followed that up with a solid showing against Tarleton. The Horned Frogs are going to have to find a way to slow down SMU’s offensive attack but if there is anyone that is familiar with the Mustangs’ system, it’s Dykes. On the flip side, SMU is at home for this game, which works in their favor. The Mustangs have been extremely effective at moving the ball. If they can avoid the turnovers that bit them against Maryland, they have a very good shot here. As it stands, give SMU the slight advantage in this contest due to the continuity factor.
Full-Game Total Pick
TCU has split their two games in relation to the total this season. The Horned Frogs have seen a combined 51 and 76 points in their two games this season against totals of 59.5 and 66.5 points, respectively. Meanwhile, SMU has seen the under hit in all three of their contests this season. The Mustangs have seen totals of 58, 61 and 61 points in their games against numbers of 67, 66 and 74 points. Seven of the last 10 games between these teams have wound up going over the total. With that said, this one has the potential to another track meet but to see each team putting up numbers in the mid to high 30s might be too much to ask. Lean toward this contest falling just short of the total.