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


Yard for yard: TCU football preview

Mustang football players enter the second week of the season looking for their first win after a 28-23 defeat at the hands of the visiting Baylor Bears. TCU comes to the Hilltop Saturday, newly ranked No. 22 and riding a wave of confidence following a stunning 17-10 victory over then-No. 7 Oklahoma in Norman. However, Coach Bennett believes his team will be ready for the upcoming Battle of the Iron Skillet. “We will be prepared on Saturday, because that’s a good football team coming to play,” he said.

Key Match-Up

TCU’s front line in its 3-3-5 system constantly shut down Oklahoma’s ground game last week, holding Heismen candidate Adrian Peterson to only 66 yards on 23 carries. The defensive line not only stopped the run but also put pressure on Oklahoma’s pair of quarterbacks, who were sacked three times and rushed into countless other incompletions.

SMU’s front five, comprised of a rotation of Darrin Johnson, Caleb Peveto, Ben Poynter, Chris Urbanus, Brad Kieschnick and Martin Guidry, must come ready for the attack scheme of TCU. Frogs coach Gary Patterson likes to blitz with linebackers and safeties in his scheme, but the key for TCU last Saturday was the constant push by the front three or four that the Frogs were getting. The Mustangs’ front line did not have its best day on Saturday as the Bears got three sacks and hurried the Mustang quarterbacks into 9-26 passing on the night. Expect the line to come back with a stronger effort as it grows more accustomed to finding its assignments and as teams continue to crowd the line with extra players to stop the run. If the Mustang line can keep the pressure off its quarterbacks, it could mean big plays in upcoming games.


Red-shirt sophomore Richard Massey had his best game as a Mustang as he pounded his way to 64 yards on only 8 carries against the Bears. Massey’s big run of the night was a 19-yard scamper for a touchdown that put the Ponies up by 8 early in the third quarter. Massey is probably the most decorated prep recruit of the Phil Bennett era and seems ready to live up to the advanced billing he received three years ago. His unique blend of power and quickness may be the best way to attack defenses that continually are stacking the box to force the Mustangs to pass. If Massey has another solid game to backup his performance last week, the Ponies could be celebrating at the next game.

TCU’s Cory Rodgers

Cory Rodgers is already inside the Top 10 in every career-receiving category in TCU history even though he has only played for two seasons at TCU. Last Saturday he terrorized the Sooners for 79 yards on 10 catches. The three-time All-Conference USA performer combines his speed with excellent route running skills to get open on what apparently is every play. For the Mustangs to be successful on Saturday, someone must blanket the elusive Rodgers.

Inside the Ponies

Once again, the strength of the Mustangs was the play of their linebackers and secondary in the passing game. Interceptions by senior LB D.D. Lee and senior FS Jamey Harper held the Bears to under 200 yards passing despite being on the field for over 37 minutes. Lee and senior corner Rolando Humphrey tied for the team lead with nine tackles, with safety Joe Sturdivant and corner Brandon Jones coming up with eight and seven tackles, respectively. While three of the four top tacklers coming out of the defensive backfield isn’t optimum, it shows the strength and experience that the Mustangs have in the backfield. Success on Saturday may hinge on whether or not the defensive back seven can force turnovers like they did last week.

Tick, Tick, Tick

Sustained drives are a part of football that often get overlooked but can decide a game just as easily as talent can. Against the Bears, SMU lost the time of possession battle 37:14-22:46, a one-sided total that contributed to the Bears scoring 22 points in the second half. SMU runs a spread offense that relies on short passes to move the clock, but the combination of Tony Eckert and Jerad Romo managed to complete only 9-26 passes, which prevented the Mustangs from putting together consistent drives for much of the day. Expect Romo and Eckert to bounce back as they become accustomed to the lack of pocket time they have as teams continue to stack the line with eight men in the box.

SMU’s receivers had man-to-man coverage for much of the day against Baylor, something that TCU will definitely replicate this weekend. SMU also needs Romo, Richuel Massey, Cedrick Dorsey and DeMyron Martin (who Bennett said will receive time on Saturday) to continue to run with a purpose and break tackles. If SMU can manage to even out the time of possession this weekend it could be a celebration on the Hilltop.

Inside the Frogs

TCU has been to bowl games seven years in a row based on a tradition of a swarming defense. Last season’s Frogs tarnished that legacy, as TCU finished dead last against the pass in all of Division I. Some blamed a lack of experience as Coach Gary Patterson played a number of younger players, but the effort at times was not up to standards, something that Patterson said was rectified on Saturday. “A year ago we got criticized a lot. We didn’t play the defense we played in the past at TCU,” said Patterson.

Despite leaving the cornerbacks on an island all afternoon, Patterson had his safeties walk to the line to stop the run. TCU also forced four turnovers out of Oklahoma’s quarterbacks and allowed the Sooners only 225 yards of total offense for the day.

Recently the Ponies have had trouble with their cross-town rivals. TCU has taken the last six meetings in the series, including last year’s 44-0 drubbing in Ft. Worth. The Iron Skillet was created during the post-World War II college football boom, with rumors persisting that the original idea was for the losers to cook the winner’s breakfast the day after a loss. The tradition was lost for a number of years before being revived again in 1993. The Frogs lead the overall series, 40-38-7, but the Mustangs will try to break the recent losing streak on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. The game is being nationally televised by College Sports Television.

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