Friday evening will mark the 98th time that TCU and SMU football have gone head to head on the football field — a DFW rivalry better known as the Battle of the Iron Skillet.
There have been plenty of lopsided affairs and plenty of nail-biters — some unexpected — since the inaugural meeting between the two schools in October 1915. In the last two decades, the Horned Frogs have had the clear upper hand in the series, winning 17 of the last 20 meetings.
Speaking of dominance, this is a rivalry contest. So why no go ahead and take a glance at some of the most dominant performances the Frogs have shown against their cross-metroplex foe? Here is a closer look at TCU’s five biggest wins over SMU — by margin of victory — all-time.
- 1915: TCU 43, SMU 0
Perhaps it’s a little fitting that the first ever meeting between TCU and SMU was a blowout in the Horned Frogs’ favor (those sporting purple can forget the 1970s and 80’s). Fresh off a 72-0 loss to Texas in Austin in its season opener, the Horned Frogs rebounded with a shutout win over the Mustangs in Fort Worth in their lone season under head coach Ewing Y. Freeland. TCU finished the year 4-5, but the silver lining: all four victories were shutouts.
- 2004: TCU 44, SMU 0
Then in his 4th full season as head coach, Gary Patterson took care of business with style when the Horned Frogs hosted the Mustangs in Week 2 of the 2004 season. It was the most lopsided victory of the year for a TCU team that only went 5-6 as quarterback Brandon Hassell threw for 264 yards and a pair of touchdowns. It also marked the 14th consecutive loss for SMU dating back to the 2003 season, in which the Mustangs went 0-12.
- 1916: TCU 48, SMU 3
Once again, the records aren’t quite as detailed on this one as they are for the next two games on this list, but the second ever meeting between TCU and SMU was just as dominant for the Horned Frogs as the inaugural meeting. Ultimately, it would prove to be the first of several blowout wins for TCU in Dallas, though the two biggest ones wouldn’t come for nearly another century down the road. TCU went on to post a 6-2-1 record under Daniel that season, while SMU failed to win a game. The first-year head coach for the Horned Frogs, Milton Daniel, now has the honors college dormitory named in his honor on TCU’s campus.
- 2000: TCU 62, SMU 7
The 62 points the Horned Frogs dropped on the Mustangs on Nov. 24, 2000 in Dallas remains the most scored by any team in the history of the TCU-SMU rivalry. The Thanksgiving weekend victory capped off a 10-1 regular season for the Horned Frogs in what would prove to be the final game Dennis Franchione ever coached at TCU. It just was just two weeks later that Patterson was named head coach after Franchione announced his departure for Alabama.
As for the game itself, it was a memorable day for the No. 13 Horned Frogs. Senior running back LaDainian Tomlinson rushed for 174 yards and a touchdown to cap off his 2,158-yard regular season — a mark which ultimately won him the Doak Walker Award and many more accolades. Combined with 251 passing yards and 4 touchdowns from quarterback Casey Printers, it was an all-around explosive outing for the TCU offense while SMU only amounted a mere 146 yards on the day.
- 2014: TCU 56, SMU 0
Four years later, the carnage from the 2014 Battle of the Iron Skillet still probably hasn’t been entirely cleared from the field at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas. It was utter domination, and an early glimpse of what was to come from ultimately one of the most talented teams in TCU football history.
Expectations were modest for TCU in 2014 after enduring a 4-8 campaign the prior fall. Alas, the Horned Frogs were unranked after a 2-0 start, but that all changed after the 56-0 drubbing of the Mustangs in late September. Quarterback Trevone Boykin passed for 280 yards with 4 touchdown passes in the win while tailback B.J. Catalon rushed for 114 yards and a touchdown. In the end, the Horned Frogs finished the day with 614 yards of total offense while holding SMU to 245 yards.
It’s worth noting that the Mustangs were already in a tumultuous situation entering the contest. SMU had only scored a mere 12 points in its previous three games of the season combined while allowing a disastrous total of 106 to their opponent — so bad that head coach June Jones resigned from his post just two games into the season. The Mustangs were a loss away from a winless campaign before ultimately defeating UConn in the final week of season.
Nonetheless, a win was a win for the Horned Frogs, and they would check in at No. 25 in the AP Top 25 poll the Monday after the contest. The result one week later: A memorable upset of No. 4 Oklahoma in Fort Worth.
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