96 Years of the Battle for the Iron Skillet

September 21, 2016

TCU vs SMU football at Amon Carter Stadium in Fort Worth, Texas on September 19, 2015. (Photo by/Sharon Ellman)

TCU kept the Iron Skillet in Fort Worth by beating SMU on September 19, 2015. (Photo by/Sharon Ellman)

For the second time in three weeks, the Frogs’ schedule has a SWC feel as they travel to Dallas to take on SMU for the 96th time. That’s a lot of history.

The Frogs and Mustangs first met in 1915. Along the way, there have been some great games and some interesting stories. Pull up a chair; let’s take a look back:

  • TCU lost the 1918 game by forfeit (the official score was 1-0) because the TCU team bus got stuck in the mud in Grand Prairie following heavy rains in the area.
  • The 1935 game – at the time called the “Game of the Century,” played at (then) TCU Stadium: SMU beat TCU, 20-14, with a late fake punt that turned into a SMU touchdown. (Legendary sportswriter Dan Jenkins ’53 was there and is still not over it –just ask him.) SMU went to the Rose Bowl and lost. Frogs went to the Sugar Bowl and won. TCU eventually won the 1935 National Championship.
  • 1948 – The Frogs’ defense contained SMU’s Doak Walker, the year’s Heisman Trophy winner, and battled to a 7-7 tie.
  • 1951 – The Frogs downed SMU, 13-2, to lock up the SWC championship.
  • 1966 – SMU’s Jerry Levias broke the color barrier as the first African-American scholarship athlete in the SWC. SMU cruised, 21-0.
  • 1997 – A freshman running back burst onto the scene and led a 1-10 TCU team to its only win.  Thanks, LaDainian Tomlinson ’05!  The loss knocked SMU out of what would have been its first bowl game since the early ’80s. Bookmark that game in this series. The two programs have been on different paths ever since.


I look forward to Friday’s game with great anticipation. SMU has raised its talent level, and the Frogs will need some fancy trick-riding to stay on the horse. More details on the Ponies Friday morning.


Kick ‘Em High!