NCAA Football

       === Local rivals square off when SMU plays host to No. 15 TCU ===
 Dallas, TX (Sports Network) - The 15th-ranked TCU Horned Frogs attempt to stay
 perfect on the season, as they make the short trek to Dallas to take on the
 SMU Mustangs on Saturday night.
 After demolishing Grambling State in its opener (56-0), TCU has posted solid
 wins at Kansas (20-6) and at home versus Virginia (27-7). The 3-0 start
 extends the Horned Frog's winning streak to 11 games -- the longest active
 streak in the nation -- and they are now an incredible 80-2 when allowing 17
 points or less under head coach Gary Patterson.
 SMU has one win under its belt against FCS program Stephen F. Austin, but
 otherwise it has challenged itself with a brutally tough non-conference slate
 against fellow Lone Star State schools, losing to Baylor in the season opener
 (59-24) and to Texas A&M on Sept. 15 (48-3). The silver lining in this matchup
 is that the Mustangs have been impressive at home in recent years, going 15-7
 there since the start of the 2009 season.
 TCU has the edge in the all-time series with SMU, 44-40-7. The Mustangs were
 able to beat the Horned Frogs last season, 40-33, which was the last time TCU
 lost a game.
 On paper, the TCU offense has appeared to perform well through three games,
 piling up more than 34 ppg and 485.3 ypg, but according to Patterson, there is
 plenty of room for improvement on that side of the ball,
 "To be honest ... I haven't been very happy with our offense," Patterson said.
 "That's in a complimentary way. I don't think we've been close to living up to
 our potential and what we can do. We've turned the ball over in the red zone.
 You can't do that if you're going to score points. We need to play a lot
 Quarterback Casey Pachall seems to be well on his way to improving upon a
 fantastic sophomore season. He has completed more than 76 percent of his
 passes so far (54-of-71) for 841 yards, eight touchdowns and only one
 Pachall has been locked in on Brandon Carter and Josh Boyce in the early
 going. Boyce has 13 receptions for 190 yards and three scores, while Carter
 has averaged more than 20 yards per catch (14 for 290), adding four
 Matthew Tucker (152 yards) has garnered the most carries out of the backfield
 with 34, but Waymon James has eclipsed his production on half as many touches
 (17 carries, 168 yards, TD). Trevone Boykin (eight carries, 108 yards, TD) has
 also been electrifying in a reserve role.
 While Patterson isn't pleased with where his offense is at this stage of the
 season, he'd be hard-pressed to find any complaints with his defense, which
 leads the nation in scoring yield (4.3 ppg). The Frogs have also held their
 opponents to fewer than 100 yards rushing per game, and they allows foes to
 convert just 19 percent of their third-down opportunities.
 Joel Hasley has been the unit's top performer with 25 tackles, four tackles
 for loss, and two sacks. Kenny Cain has also been impressive with two
 interceptions and a fumble recovery.
 SMU's offense had a lot of firepower in 2011, putting up 38 points or more on
 five different occasions, but it has not been completely in sync to start this
 season (26.3 ppg, 381.3 ypg).
 "We haven't really gotten going in the first three games," head coach June
 Jones said of his offense, "but there's a lot of football left, so hopefully
 we will pick it up."
 The struggles of junior quarterback Garrett Gilbert is a big reason for the
 slow start. He has thrown for 694 yards, but he has also completed just 52.8
 percent of his passes (76-of-144) while tossing more interceptions (four) than
 touchdowns (three).
 Zach Line has been able to pick up some of the slack out of the backfield,
 racking up 299 yards and two touchdowns on 60 carries. Line is a true
 workhorse for the Mustangs, as no other player has more than six carries.
 Jeremy Johnson (127 yards, TD), Darius Johnson (110 yards), and Line (95
 yards) are all tied for the team lead with 14 receptions, but it's Keenan
 Holman who paces the squad in receiving yards with 156.
 The SMU defense has faced two very difficult tasks in going up against Baylor
 and Texas A&M, which has skewed its numbers (35.7 ppg, 556.7 ypg).
 A ball-hawking secondary has been the unit's best asset in the early going.
 The team has seven interceptions, with Ryan Smith and Kenneth Acker picking
 off two apiece.
 09/26 10:53:22 ET

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