‘They were scared to play us’: Ahead of Iron Skillet, SMU, TCU point fingers for 2020’s cancellation

UNIVERSITY PARK AND FORT WORTH — Why did it take over a 12 months for SMU and TCU to play their one hundredth soccer sport towards one another? If Tuesday is any indication, the reply could depend upon who you ask.

The rivalry sport, identified colloquially because the Battle for the Iron Skillet, is about to happen this weekend, however the dialog main as much as the sport, in each Dallas and Fort Price, has initially been centered on who was in charge for the sport falling via final season.

First, let’s have a look at the official minutes from a 12 months in the past.

SMU and TCU had been scheduled to play on Friday, Sept. 11, earlier than a COVID-19 spike at TCU pressured the sport to be postponed. TCU Athletic Director Jeremiah Donati, in a press launch saying the postponement, mentioned each colleges would have a look at potential dates to make up the sport final season.

Dec. 12, an open spot on every of the workforce’s schedules, and presumably Dec. 19 had been checked out as potential make-up dates, however it didn’t work out.

“TCU and SMU had continuous communication all through this season with the mutual intent of us with the ability to make up our postponed sport,” Donati and SMU Athletic Director Rick Hart mentioned in a joint assertion. “Sadly, for causes outdoors of our management, we won’t be able to play this 12 months. We’re each disenchanted however stay up for the rivalry and the one hundredth Battle for the Iron Skillet in 2021.”

E book closed, dialog over — till Tuesday.

SMU junior vast receiver Rashee Rice, a Richland Excessive Faculty alum, was requested what the rivalry sport means to him. SMU’s second-leading receiver didn’t maintain again.

“Freshman 12 months, I didn’t get to play them … sophomore 12 months, after we received that [Iron] Skillet, they had been scared to play us,” mentioned Rice, who has 4 touchdowns in three video games. “I’m going to say that once more: they had been scared to play us. And now junior 12 months I get to return out and I get to ball again in Fort Price the place I went to highschool. You recognize I can’t watch for that.”

SMU by no means trailed in 2019 when it beat TCU 41-38, ending TCU’s seven-game Iron Skillet win streak. The Mustangs opened the 2020 season with a 31-24 win over Texas State earlier than its initially scheduled Week 2 sport towards TCU, which was set to make its season debut, however the sport by no means occurred.

Rice was then requested if the rivalry had: “Personally, I don’t assume the rivalry is ever going to alter. It’s all the time going to be Dallas vs. Fort Price, however nobody involves Texas for Fort Price. They arrive for Dallas.

“We’re simply able to go take them.”

Rice’s feedback had been posted to Twitter at 10:44 a.m. By the point TCU head coach Gary Patterson’s weekly press convention with the media began at midday, he had heard Rice’s feedback. He refuted Rice’s remark about Fort Price, saying “I do know lots of people are coming to Fort Price. They like Fort Price.”

Then Patterson responded to Rice’s remark about TCU being scared to play SMU, which led to the preliminary cancelation.

“Backside line: we misplaced all our quarterbacks,” Patterson mentioned, referencing the COVID-19 spike the workforce handled in the beginning of the season. “And in case you have a look at the cellphone information what you discover out is we tried to name SMU on the finish of the season. The explanation we performed Louisiana Tech [on Dec. 12] is as a result of we didn’t get any cellphone calls again from SMU. What you should perceive is we did attempt to play SMU on the finish of the season. They couldn’t work it out. We had COVID early and neither certainly one of us performed a bowl sport.”

Hart was requested by The Dallas Morning Information Tuesday about Patterson’s feedback and he reaffirmed the assertion he and Donati made final season.

“Jeremiah and I agreed that we’d maintain an open thoughts and keep in contact all through the remainder of the season within the occasion there was a possibility to get it in later and there wasn’t,” Hart mentioned. “It’s actually so simple as that.”

Donati didn’t reply instantly to an inquiry from The Information about Rice and Patterson’s feedback.

Regardless, the one hundredth version of the sport will occur Saturday, and somebody can be taking house the Iron Skillet.

Find more college sports coverage from The Dallas Morning News here.

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