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Sonny Dykes apologizes for scuffle following SMU's win over TCU

SMU doesn't win the Iron Skillet often, but when it does bad feelings seem to surface out of Fort Worth.

SMU's trip to Fort Worth on Saturday included a trip to the bank, where SMU cashed a check their mouths wrote earlier this week, when an SMU player accused TCU of canceling last year's scheduled clash because they were scared to play them. 

The Mustangs scored in the game's first minute, fell behind 21-16 early in the second quarter, but jolted back in front two minutes later on a 29-yard Tanner Mordecai touchdown pass and never trailed in the game's final 40 minutes. The Ponies built leads of 30-21 and 42-27 before settling for a 42-34 victory, their second straight in Fort Worth.

Afterward, SMU players planted the Mustang flag on TCU's field, a move Patterson didn't like and Dykes apologized for.

“I’ll talk to them about that,” Dykes said. “We don’t want to do something like that. There’s nobody in the world that has more respect for TCU or for Gary Patterson and how they run their program, the longevity he’s had here, there’s nobody in the world that has more respect for him than I do. If that happened, that shouldn’t have happened. I feel bad for that. I apologize for that.

“Our guys were excited. It’s a battle for credibility for us. It always is. Nobody wants to pay attention to us and say we’re any good. And our guys pick up on that. When they have a chance to prove themselves on a big stage, they want to do the best they can to do it. I don’t blame them. I hope that didn’t happen. But if it did, I’m going to make sure it doesn’t happen again. Like I said, it’s certainly not out of a lack of respect for TCU. Our players feel the same way I do.”

Patterson accused an SMU player of hitting TCU special assistant to the head coach Jerry Kill with a helmet.

“I do need to find out who the player is that hit Coach Kill with a helmet is. I will find that out," he said.

Video of the incident conflicts Patterson's account. 

Another angle, sent to FootballScoop by a source, clearly shows a TCU player knocking Kill to the ground.

"No one on our team hit Coach Kill or was anywhere near him," an SMU staff source told FootballScoop Sunday.

Hard feelings emerging after SMU wins in Fort Worth is a bit of a theme in this rivalry. Before winning in 2019, SMU last beat TCU at Amon Carter Stadium in 2011, and ahead of that game then-Mustangs head coach June Jones made comments that many interpreted as him saying Patterson's teams were easy to prepare for. After SMU won, 40-33 in overtime, Patterson said this:

"SMU has had a lot of help from us over the last three or four years to improve their program," Patterson said. "I don't appreciate being treated the way it is; that's how we got reciprocated. We're going to go on about our business, but they're not going to get the same help anymore -- not about a ballgame, not about conferences, not about anybody. They're getting no help from Gary Patterson, period.

"They shouldn't ask me at SMU about going into a conference, they shouldn't ask me about how they play, they shouldn't ask me about their players, they shouldn't ask me about anything because they're not getting any help, period, any more. Because we've bent over backwards to make sure that they can improve their program because I believe that's what you do."

After Saturday's game, Patterson didn't mention 2011, but he did bring up Dykes frying frog legs after the 2020 cancelation and SMU band members trying to embed an "M" into TCU's grass Amon Carter Stadium field. 

“Here’s the thing, I didn’t talk. I saw coach [Dykes] fry frog legs in the skillet when we couldn’t play them,” Patterson said, via the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. “I’ve been here 24 years. There’s one way that you handle things — you have class doing that. I’m not going to call people out and tell them they’re scared [like Rice]. I’m not doing all of that stuff. There’s a way to win and there’s a way to lose. Doing that? Just because Baker Mayfield did it at Ohio State?

“They can keep acting that way. Just like they put grass seed on the field. To me, that tells me they still hold us in high regard. Simple.”

SMU's win pushed the rivalry into rare territory, one where both head coaches have winning records against their rival schools. Patterson is 15-4 against SMU, but Dykes, by virtue of a 2-game winning streak, is now 2-1 versus TCU.