TCU's six-game winning streak vs. SMU ends

DALLAS (AP) -- Some of the kids jumping over the retaining wall behind the SMU bench to join a frenzied postgame scene were celebrating a feat that hadn't occurred in their lifetime: The Mustangs beating a ranked foe.

And it wasn't just any ranked foe, it was their top rival -- TCU.

DeMyron Martin ran for two touchdowns and caught a 22-yard touchdown pass, leading SMU past the No. 22 Horned Frogs 21-10 on Saturday night for the Mustangs' most important victory since coming off the death penalty in 1989.

"It's a tremendous feeling," defensive back Brandon Jones said. "I guess it does make it a little sweeter to beat TCU."

SMU last beat a ranked team on Oct. 11, 1986, seven games before the NCAA shut them down for the '87 season for rampant violations; the school opted to sit out '88, too. The difficulty the Mustangs have had re-establishing the once-proud program of Doak Walker, Don Meredith and Eric Dickerson is partly why the death penalty hasn't been used since.

"This is progress, what I call a marquee win," said SMU coach Phil Bennett, who improved to 7-30 since giving up a solid career as a defensive coordinator at Big 12 schools and gambling that he could turn around this downtrodden program.

When the game ended a few minutes before midnight, hundred of SMU students -- including 18-year-olds born in 1987 -- emptied from the stands to the field, creating such a huge blob that the Horned Frogs had to go way around them to get to their locker room.

That was only part of the humiliation for TCU, which had vaulted into the rankings following a 17-10 win at Oklahoma the previous weekend.

The Horned Frogs had beaten the Mustangs six straight times, their longest streak in a series that dates to 1915. Now SMU finally gets back the "Iron Skillet" given to the winner of this Dallas-Fort Worth matchup -- and they can keep it until at least 2007 because the rivalry goes on hiatus next season for the first time since the death penalty.

"We didn't play well enough to win," said TCU coach Gary Patterson. "That's the way it goes."

Martin ran 26 times for 118 yards, with scores of 9 and 2 yards. He caught two passes for 30 more. Jerad Romo was 11-of-21 for 101 yards with no interceptions in his first start.

TCU's Tye Gunn was incomplete on his first seven passes -- well, his fourth throw was caught by an SMU defender -- and he finished 16-of-36 for 134 yards with three pickoffs, two in the closing minutes. He also lost 21 yards on five runs.

The Horned Frogs lost running back Lonta Hobbs to a groin injury in the first quarter after he'd gained 40 yards on six carries. Robert Merrill led TCU with 99 yards on 20 carries.

"We didn't score a touchdown on offense tonight and you're not going to win many games like that," Patterson said.

Even the kicking game let the Horned Frogs down. Peter LoCoco missed three of four field-goal tries, including a 31-yarder that could've made it 14-13 in the third quarter. They also had a 12-yard punt.

Patterson said he could tell by the way his club practiced Tuesday and Wednesday that they were either still savoring their victory over the Sooners or taking the Mustangs for granted. Either was a recipe for disaster. And it turns out both may have happened.

Martin's first rushing touchdown and his TD catch shortly before halftime gave SMU a 14-3 lead. It was already the most points the Mustangs had scored against the Horned Frogs since 1997.

TCU seemed to snap out of it when Cory Rodgers took the opening kickoff of the third quarter 86 yards for a touchdown. Instead, it was false hope. The Horned Frogs were called for offsides on the ensuing kickoff and things only got worse.

LoCoco missed his 31-yarder on the next drive and the following drive ended on downs near midfield. After going three-and-out and punting, the defense gave up its third TD drive of at least 79 yards -- and, like the first one, TCU helped SMU with a penalty that
kept the Mustangs from having to punt.

Ahead 21-10, SMU struggled to put away its first victory over a non-conference team since the 2000 opener, with Chris McMurtray missing kicks of 42, 43 and 44 yards, all over the final 7:24.

Luckily for the Mustangs, the Horned Frogs kept doing it for them.

TCU's final four drives ended on a fumble, two interceptions and an incompletion on fourth-and-7.

"This just shows if you don't come to play every week, you will get beat," Patterson said.