SMU 40 … at TCU 33 OT
Posted Oct 1, 2011

Week 5 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - SMU at TCU

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 5 - SMU at TCU

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Oct. 1 SMU 40 … at TCU 33 OT
CFN Analysis: All of a sudden, SMU is 4-1 with an offense that's put up 40 points or more in three straight games and a run defense that's stuffing everyone cold. After the opener against Texas A&M, the defensive front is doing a far better job of tackling and a far better job of getting into the backfield, and it showed against TCU allowing just 150 yards on the ground. The turnovers that have been a problem weren't a big deal with just one pick, but the 11 penalties and the problems in the secondary allowed the Horned Frogs to come back. All that matters is that SMU got the win before diving into the critical Conference USA dates against UCF and Southern Miss. Beating TCU was big, but coming up with wins over the next two weeks would really get the season going.

TCU can mount phenomenal comebacks, but against Baylor and SMU the great fourth quarters didn't finish with wins. The secondary has been shockingly bad in key moments and the pass rush hasn't been up to the usual high Horned Frogs standards. Casey Pachall is showing a nice passing touch, completing 30-of-42 passes for 304 yards and three touchdowns, but he wasn't able to finish the comeback. For all the problems and for all the issues, TCU is still very, very close to being 5-0. It might not be business as usual, but it's a rebuilding season and neither of the losses has come in Mountain West play. The aura of invincibility is gone, but with an impressive win over San Diego State next week, it can come back in time to roll through the rest of the league before the big date with Boise State.

(AP) FORT WORTH, Texas -- J.J. McDermott threw a 19-yard touchdown pass to Jeremy Johnson in overtime and SMU recovered from a fourth-quarter comeback for a 40-33 upset of No. 20 TCU on Saturday.

The loss ended a school-record 22-game home winning streak for the Horned Frogs (3-2).

SMU (4-1) coughed up a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter before McDermott hit Johnson on a deep out route in the end zone for his fourth scoring toss of the game.

TCU's bid to tie ended when a tipped pass from Casey Pachall bounced off the chest of Brandon Carter just past the first-down marker.

The Mustangs beat a ranked opponent for just the second time since the NCAA imposed the so-called death penalty nearly 25 years ago.

SMU (3-1) at TCU (3-1) Oct. 1, 3:30, CBS Sports Network

Here's The Deal … With the Iron Skillet as the prize, former Southwest Conference rivals SMU and TCU are set to meet for the 91st time in a series that's been dominated over the last decade by the Horned Frogs. The Frogs enter Week 5 a little unsure of how much it's actually grown since the 50-48 loss to Baylor on the opening weekend. Sure, beating up on Air Force on Sept. 10 was impressive, but since then, they've fattened up on Louisiana-Monroe and Portland State.

Facing an old nemesis will afford TCU a chance to raise the bar before resuming Mountain West play at San Diego State a week from now. The Mustangs are still a bit of a mystery as well. They, too, began the year with a loss to a Big 12 team, Texas A&M, before reeling off three straight wins over weak competition. Although two of those victories came over Conference USA foes, handling UTEP and Memphis is hardly a reason to beam with confidence.

Why SMU Might Win: The Mustangs will not be facing the same Horned Frogs defense that's given them so much trouble over the past few years. TCU is quite a bit more vulnerable, especially to the pass. SMU has begun to click on offense by generating more than 500 total yards in consecutive games. June Jones will once again give the ball to J.J. McDermott and ask him to play catch with Darius Johnson and Cole Beasley, provided he's physically able to go. As usual, the balance—and the hammer—will be provided by 230-pound RB Zach Line, who has already scored 11 touchdowns and rushed for 463 yards through the first four games.

Why TCU Might Win: While the Mustangs defense has played well, allowing only 24 points in the last three games, can it handle the physicality of the Horned Frogs? The only time that SMU played a quality team in September, it yielded six touchdowns to Texas A&M. TCU is hoping to return top back Ed Wesley, who's missed the last three games with a shoulder injury. In his place, Waymon James and Matthew Tucker haven't skipped a beat, combining for 610 yards and seven touchdowns. At quarterback, Casey Pachall continues to adapt to his role as Andy Dalton's successor, while improving his chemistry with top receivers Josh Boyce and Skye Dawson.

What To Watch Out For: The TCU defense is not a finished product by any means, but given time, head coach Gary Patterson will whip his rebuilt unit into shape. Take LB Kenny Cain, for instance. Living by the next-man-in mantra that permeates throughout Fort Worth, the junior is poised to take full advantage of the void left by the season-ending ankle injury to all-star Tanner Brock. In his first start a week ago, he made 13 tackles and a sack, indicating that the drop-off in production won't be as steep as many suspect.

What Will Happen: Although not the same team as a year ago, TCU is beginning to regroup as it makes a push toward a possible fourth straight 10-win season. The offense will benefit from the return of Wesley, giving the Frogs the balance and pop it needs to jet past SMU. The Mustangs, on the other hand, are still searching for more consistency in the passing game, which will allow the TCU linebackers and safeties to commit more attention to slowing down Line.

CFN Prediction: TCU 35 … SMU 20
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