DALLAS (Sports Network) - Andy Dalton shook off a rough start and led three touchdown drives in the second half, as No. 4 TCU broke away from a close game at the half to post a 41-24 win over SMU in a matchup of non- conference rivals at Ford Stadium.
Dalton was picked off twice, inside two minutes left in the first half and on the opening series of the second half, leading to 10 Mustang points and a 17-14 deficit a minute into the third quarter.
The Horned Frogs (4-0) rallied for 27 points in the last 27 1/2 minutes, with Dalton tossing a go-ahead 11-yard touchdown to Bart Johnson and Waymon James tacking on one of his two rushing touchdowns on the next possession.
Luke Shivers helped put the game away with a score on the second play of the fourth quarter for TCU, which extended its regular-season win streak to 17 games.
"We took their best shot and came out with a win. I'm very happy to get to 4-0. It's very hard to get to that mark in this day and time, especially with the type of non-conference schedule that we played," said TCU head coach Gary Patterson.
Kyle Padron was 14-of-35 for 169 yards and two touchdowns for the Mustangs (2-2), who were coming off back-to-back wins over UAB and Washington State.
Zach Line racked up 139 rushing yards on 17 touches. He scored a 29-yard touchdown with over 11 minutes still to play for an 11-point game, but Pardon was picked off on the next series and Tejay Johnson took it 19 yards the other way for six points.
After TCU began the game with a punt, SMU took the ball 88 yards in eight plays, with Padron and Aldrick Robinson hooking up for a 23-yard score and a 7-0 lead.
The early struggles on offense continued for the Horned Frogs with a three- and-out, but the next series went 85 yards in eight plays, with Matthew Tucker's two-yard touchdown tying the game with 13 seconds left in the opening frame.
A lengthy 15-play, 70-yard drive for TCU that lasted nearly seven minutes saw James take it in from four yards out for a 14-7 game. Dalton's first pick near midfield followed a short time later, and Matt Szymanski kicked a 26-yard field goal with 12 ticks remaining in the first half to bring the hosts within 14-10.
Dalton's second pick was returned 32 yards to the TCU one-yard line by Sterling Moore, and Padron scrambled to find Bradley Haynes on the next play to give the Mustangs a 17-14 edge.
Jeremy Kerley, though, took the ensuing kickoff back 83 yards, and TCU was in the end zone 1 1/2 minutes later on Dalton's 11-yard strike to Johnson.
SMU punted on its next two turns, and a 12-play drive saw James score on a nine-yard run to push the Horned Frog advantage to 28-17.
The Mustangs did their best to stay in it, as Line capped a 76-yard series in a little over three minutes with his 29-yard touchdown, but Pardon's pick with seven minutes to play ultimately sealed SMU's fate and handed TCU the coveted "Iron Skillet."