The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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A TCU defender intercepts a pass intended for Aldrick Robinson (24) last year in Ford Stadium. STUART PALLEY/The Daily Campus

A TCU defender intercepts a pass intended for Aldrick Robinson (24) last year in Ford Stadium. STUART PALLEY/The Daily Campus

Body paint, tailgating and harmless pranks are just a few of the additions that accompany rivalry games. Whether is be bleaching your opponent’s football field, soaping a fountain or simply engaging in some light trash talking, fans from both ends of the spectrum come together when SMU and TCU play each other in the Battle for the Iron Skillet.

But behind painted faces, there is always a story lurking around the corner. Not only will SMU sophomore quarterback Bo Levi Mitchell be looking for his first victory over No.11 TCU, he will be looking to upset his first nationally ranked team of the season’s quarterback, Andy Dalton.

As teammates at Katy High School in Houston, Mitchell still calls TCU junior quarterback, Andy Dalton, one his mentors, having played behind him for three years.

“The rivalry means a lot from a personal standpoint because me and the quarterback went to the same high school and he was kind of a mentor to me,” Mitchell said. “Pretty much everything I know today I learned from him. It’s kind of fun to go out there and play him.”

As a senior in high school, Mitchell led his team to an undefeated season and state championship, throwing for 2,451 yards, 37 touchdowns and only four interceptions.

Compared to Dalton, who despite being one of Texas High School Football’s Top 200 players, never had an undefeated season or won a state championship.

After leaving a more than impressive mark upon graduating from high school, Mitchell feels this is the year to prove to Dalton who the better team, and quarterback, might be.

“Last year it was kind of like watching somebody who has been through it all because he had already been in college a couple of years and last year I could watch how he managed the game and carried himself on the field,” Mitchell said of Dalton. “It was a good experience for me but this year I hope I can come out on the field and show him something.”

To others, like senior Kellis Cunningham, this weekend’s rivalry is more about revenge.

“Last year, TCU just took complete control of the game,” Cunningham said. “I remember in 2006, walking down the staircase and onto the field going through warm ups just thinking ‘this is going to be an insane game.’

People were just hitting on the lockers waiting to get out on the field. I remember the mentality of the players just wanting to get out on the field. Last year, that attitude was absent.”

While Cunningham, the team’s kicker, believes it may have been because of a youthful team and new coaching staff contributing to last year’s loss, those factors no longer exist.

“I think last year was kind of an eye opener for the new guys. I think people have a different perception on the game and realize how bad we want this game,” Cunningham said. “Last year, you had so many people who didn’t know what the rivalry was like. They didn’t know what to expect. I think last year was just an eye opener, but now I think everyone is ready to go.”

With the first game of the rivalry dating back to 1915, tensions have continued to run high, as the Iron Skillet has been absent from Dallas since 2005. For the majority of the team, no one knows what it is like to bring home the trophy, or even to see what a full trophy case looks like.

After my freshman year, the trophy cases were empty,” Cunningham said. The year before Cunningham arrived on the Hilltop was the last year SMU defeated TCU.

For others, like senior wide receiver Emmanuel Sanders who was on the 2005 team, winning against TCU could be what Sanders is calling the biggest game of his career.

We’re expecting to win,” Sanders said. “If you believe it, you can achieve it.”

With that sour taste still lingering after a two-game losing streak to TCU, the Mustangs enter Fort Worth more fired up than ever, especially with a 2-1 record, already giving them an advantage over last season.

Despite TCU entering the game undefeated and SMU suffering a single loss on the season from a an overtime struggle against Washington State, the bye week taken by SMU has helped the athletes regain their strength.

“The bye week kind of let us rest, but a couple guys got banged up,” Mitchell said “We’re small on receivers right now because a couple guys have a little tweaks, but everyone should be ready by Saturday.”

As is often the case with any game, fan support can often make or break the outcome. Especially on the road against TCU, the team has been encouraging students and the Dallas community to make the 30-minute drive.

“When you have fans out there, you can see how much it picks up the sideline,” Mitchell said. “It helps so much that when we make a big play, instead of hearing silence from the other team’s crowd, we actually hear out guys cheering. We really want to go out to TCU and get a ‘W’ for Dallas.”

For others, just seeing purple and playing on the road is enough of a motivation.

I love road games,” Cunningham said. “I think road games are the best. Like I said each year I’ve played TCU, you see purple and you hate it.”

Timeline of the Battle for the Iron Skillet

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