Ben Hicks

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No. 16 TCU fries SMU to retain ownership of Iron Skillet

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Although things may not have started off well for No. 16 TCU (2-0) after a weather delay pushed back the start of Friday night’s game by about 50 minutes, the Horned Frogs got everything in gear in the second half to defeat rival SMU (0-2) by a score of 42-12. KaVontae Turpin had a punt return for a touchdown and a 42-yard touchdown catch to help light the spark for TCU and help slam the door shut on the Mustangs. This is the seventh year in a row TCU has won the rivalry game as they continue to maintain possession of the Iron Skillet.

TCU’s defense shut down opportunities for SMU in the second half. Two plays after TCU quarterback Shawn Robinson (15/28, 146 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 67 rushing yards, 1 rushing TD) threw an interception on the opening drive of the second half, Ben Banogu forced a fumble by SMU quarterback Ben Hicks (18/38, 111 yards) and Alec Dunham returned the loose ball 25 yards for a touchdown. Down 21-12, SMU never had a drive longer than 13 yards the rest of the night until their next-to-last possession. By then, TCU had a 30-point lead.

Robinson rushed 18 yards for a touchdown to extend the TCU lead to 28-12 in the third quarter and his 42-yard pass to Turpin in the fourth quarter made any threat of an upset vanish as Gary Patterson soon started feeling comfortable getting some of his starters on the sideline for the remainder of the game. Michael Collins took advantage of that opportunity by running 10 yards for a fourth-quarter touchdown.

TCU will now get one extra day of rest to begin focusing on their next game. TCU will meet Big Ten favorite Ohio State in Arlington, Texas in Week 3. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series 4-1-1, but the two programs have not met on the field since 1973. TCU will not be able to afford a slow start against Ohio State next week, because Ohio State will be far more likely to put points on the scoreboard whereas SMU jumped out to a 9-0 lead and never found an offensive rhythm after that.

SMU limps out to a 0-2 start with losses to TCU and North Texas, and neither has been particularly pretty. SMU will find it difficult to pick up the first win under head coach Sonny Dykes. Next week, the Mustangs head into Big Ten territory to play Ohio State’s rivals, the Michigan Wolverines. Michigan dropped their season opener at Notre Dame in Week 1, but Jim Harbaugh has a good chance to get his Wolverines into a comfort zone the next two weekends. SMU will host AAC opponent Navy the following week and may be looking to find its first win of the season at the end of September with a home game against Houston Baptist on Sept. 29.

Elite 11 QB sign financial aid agreement with Houston

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Houston may be getting ready for a potential run at the American Athletic Conference in 2014, but the sights on 2015 have already started coming into focus. On Monday Houston announced that Class of 2015 quarterback Ben Hicks has signed a financial aid agreement with the Cougars, securing him a spot in Houston’s next recruiting class well ahead of schedule. The plan is for Hicks to enroll at Houston in January, thus giving him a head start on getting involved with the offense in the spring.

Hicks is currently rated three stars by Rivals, but his stock looks to be rising after finishing second in the recent Elite 11 quarterback camp this summer. The financial aid agreement means Houston is locked in to reserving a scholarship for Hicks if he decides to follow through on his commitment to the program, but Hicks is still free to evaluate all of his options in recruiting. Hicks is now guaranteed a scholarship somewhere, but he does not have to attend Houston.

Last week Texas Tech was able to have their top quarterback recruit sign a financial aid agreement. Jarrett Stidham signed on the dotted line last week and could begin competing for a starting job in Lubbock as early as the spring. The timeline for Hicks should be a bit different. At Houston, John O’Korn is heading into a sophomore season after showing some very positive signs in Houston’s offense a year ago. If O’Korn continues to produce for the Cougars this season, he should be able to hold on to the starting job in his junior season and perhaps his senior season as well.