SMU Hosts TCU On Saturday In StateFarm DFW Duel - The Battle For The Iron Skillet
Sept. 27, 2012
SMU Mustangs (1-2, 0-0 C-USA) vs. No. 15/14 TCU Horned Frogs (3-0, 1-0 Big 12)
Saturday, September 29, 2012 - 6 P.M. CT - Gerald J. Ford Stadium (32,000) - Dallas, Texas
Fox Sports/SMU Radio Network/SMUMustangs.com
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Setting The Scene
• SMU wraps up its non-conference schedule by hosting archrival TCU in the StateFarm DFW Duel - The Battle For The Iron Skillet. SMU claimed the Skillet with a 40-33 overtime win in Ft. Worth last season and will look to defend it for the first time since winning back-to-back games against the Frogs in 1992 and 1993.
• Zach Line puts the “run” in SMU’s Run & Shoot. Line has posted 100-yard games against Baylor and Texas A&M in 2012, and his 17 career 100-yard games rank second in SMU history to only Eric Dickerson and third among active players. He has totaled 3,206 yards and 36 rushing TDs in his career, both of which rank fourth among active players.
• The SMU and TCU coaching staffs will be wearing Coach to Cure MD patches this week to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. Fans are encouraged to donate online at www.CoachtoCureMD.org or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999.
• Located in the nation’s fifth-largest media market, SMU boasts an impressive resume with 143 Conference Championships, 147 NCAA top-10 finishes, eight NCAA team championships (three in football), over 100 individual NCAA championships, hundreds of All-Americans and one Heisman Trophy Winner. SMU has won its conference’s Director’s Cup in 11 out of the past 15 years. SMU is one of just 20 schools that has both a Heisman Trophy winner and multiple national championships.
• SMU is in the midst of its Centennial Celebration, commemorating the 100th anniversary of the University’s founding and opening. January 1, 2011, was designated as the start of the celebration period, running through 2015. SMU was founded in 1911 and opened in 1915.
About The Frogs
• TCU enters the game with a national-best 11-game win streak and ranked 15th in the AP Poll. The Frogs are led by quarterback Casey Pachall, who leads the nation in passing efficiency, and their defense, which is tops nationally in scoring defense and ranks ninth in total defense.
• SMU and TCU have a long-standing rivalry, having played nearly every season since 1915. TCU holds a slight 44-40-7 series edge. SMU, though, leads 22-19-2 in games played in Dallas.
• Two 1935 National Champs? Both SMU and TCU claim the 1935 National Championship and both are recognized in the NCAA Record Books. SMU was named champs by both the Dickinson and Houlgate Systems, while TCU was named by the Williamson System. Who won the head-to-head match-up? The Mustangs, 20-14, in Fort Worth.
• June Jones is in his fifth season at the SMU helm. His SMU record is 25-30 and his career mark is now 101-71. Jones led SMU to back-to-back Conference USA Western Division Championships in 2009 and 2010, and has led the Mustangs to three straight bowl berths. Jones went 76-41 in nine seasons at Hawaii, leading the Warriors to the All-State Sugar Bowl following the 2007 season. Prior to heading to Hawaii, Jones had a 12-year coaching career in the NFL, including head coaching stops at Atlanta and San Diego.
• Gary Patterson is in his 12th season at TCU. He is the school’s all-time winningest coach and holds a career and school record of 112-30. Patterson has produced at least 10 wins in eight of the last 10 years, including seven seasons of 11 or more victories.
The Iron Skillet
When SMU faces rival TCU, they battle it out for the Iron Skillet. But why an iron skillet?
According to a Nov. 30, 1946, article in The Dallas Morning News, the “Battle for the Iron Skillet” was started to prevent “mutilation of school property” by rowdy fans. The previous year, more than $1,000 in damage had been done to both campuses.
Minutes from fall 1946 student council meetings provide more clues. On Oct. 1, the agenda included: “Further set up idea of Little Brown Jug Trophy,” referring to the Michigan-Minnesota football rivalry, and on Nov. 19, a student reported that he had purchased the trophy – “an aluminum skillet.” A motion was made that SMU and TCU would share the expense of the trophy. The tradition eventually died, though, and the skillet was lost.
In 1993, however, the tradition was revived as the president of the SMU student body painted the face of the TCU student body president red and blue following the Mustangs’ 21-15 victory in Fort Worth.
The Game Of The Century
There has been endless debate about which college football game should be designated the “Game of the Century.” The Texas-Arkansas match up in 1969 comes to mind for many, but perhaps there has never been a game more deserving of that title than the epic 1935 showdown between SMU and TCU.
It was a clash of two undefeated titans and the stakes for the game could not have been higher. The Southwest Conference title, a Rose Bowl bid and a National Championship would go to the winner. SMU was 10-0, and TCU, with Sammy Baugh at the helm, was 11-0. It was No. 1 vs. No. 2.
The game drew unprecedented national attention as the National Broadcasting System sent it live across the country. This was the first such broadcast of a game ever in the Southwest. Grantland Rice was one of the dozens of sportswriters from all over the country that was sent to Fort Worth to cover the game.
On game day, nearly 37,000 fans made their way to TCU. The stadium only held 25,000 but that did not stop all 37,000 from making their way into the game one way or another. SMU’s Bob Finley recalled, “Fans were all over everything, the hillside and the grass. They crawled over fences, pushed gatekeepers out of the way.”
SMU had to play shorthanded as All-SWC back Harry Shuford was sidelined with an injury. Finley was given the play calling duties and led the Mustangs to a 14-0 lead. Bobby Wilson scored both times, once receiving and the other rushing.
But the Frogs fought their way back to tie the score at 14 going into the fourth quarter. With a little more than eight minutes left in the game, Finley and company made arguably the most important play in school history. Bell had sent in Jack Rabbit Smith to take over play calling duties for this series, but left Finley at quarterback. There was no sending in plays from the sidelines in those days, so what happened next came as a shock to Bell as well.
On fourth-and-4 at the TCU 39, Smith called for a fake punt, even though on the sideline Bell was sure they would try to kick it out of bounds inside the TCU 10. Finley, the team’s normal punter, broke the huddle and headed to line up in formation when Wilson grabbed him and said, “Throw it as far as you can. I’ll be there.”
Finley recalls, “Wilson was out wide. I made as if to kick the ball, and the line slowed down. Then I backed up and threw it, and I was buried. I heard the people scream, and when I got up, I saw Wilson in the end zone, jumping up and down.”
Finley’s pass had sailed more than 45 yards in the air and came down to Wilson inside the five, where he caught it between a couple of TCU defenders, and dived into the end zone for the touchdown. SMU had taken the lead, 20-14. Baugh tried valiantly to bring the Horned Frogs back but was denied by the Mustang defense.
SMU won the game, the SWC title and the National Championship. The win sent them to the Rose Bowl, which in turn meant SMU would receive $85,000 in revenue, which was used to pay off the Ownby Stadium mortgage. The pass from Finley to Wilson thus became known as the $85,000 pass and took its place in SMU lore.