September 16, 2017 / 11:33 PM / 8 days ago

Preview: SMU at TCU

No. 20 TCU will get another good test before conference play starts when high-scoring SMU visits Saturday afternoon. The unbeaten Mustangs are averaging 56 points and have one of the country’s top receivers in junior Courtland Sutton.

The Horned Frogs will counter with a defense among the nation’s best early in the season, allowing 3.5 points and 166 yards. The Horned Frogs’ experienced defense - with seven returning starters - has eight sacks and three turnovers. Coach Gary Patterson credited the TCU offense’s smart play for helping the defense turn in a dominating performance against Arkansas. “You have to take away possession times and shorten the ballgame,” Patterson said during Monday’s Big 12 teleconference. “You control the clock, it keeps your defense off the field and doesn’t allow them to game plan you as much.”

TV: 3:30 p.m. ET, ESPNU. LINE: TCU -19.

ABOUT SMU (2-0): Sutton, who is fourth on SMU’s career receiving touchdowns list with 24 after four in the season opener against North Texas, has 10 catches for 185 yards and five TDs. Sophomore quarterback Ben Hicks is 29-of-58 for 424 yards, six touchdowns and one interception as the Mustangs have set a school record for points in their first two games (112). SMU is allowing 72 rushing yards and has forced five turnovers - all of which have been turned into touchdowns.

ABOUT TCU (2-0): Kenny Hill (39-of-54 for 372 yards with four TDs and two interceptions) and TCU’s balanced offense has converted 68 percent of the time on third down. Darius Anderson (173 rush yards, one TD) is one of four Horned Frogs with a rushing score, while six different players have at least three catches. Travin Howard leads the TCU defense with 12 tackles, while safety Ridwan Issahaku has 11 stops, three tackles for loss, two sacks and an interception returned for a touchdown.

EXTRA POINTS

1. TCU is 104-3 when holding an opponent to 17 points or fewer under Patterson.

2. The Horned Frogs and Mustangs each have two defensive touchdowns, putting them tied for third nationally behind Texas and Michigan (three each).

3. SMU is one of three teams (Maryland, Kansas State) to score at least 50 points in each of their first two games.

PREDICTION: TCU 48, SMU 13

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