“This time I want to beat them,” Buechele told the Star-Telegram on Thursday. “I’ve played them twice and I haven’t beaten them. It’ll be important for us to play our game and go out and execute.
“We’ve been in the film room a lot. It’s a big game for us and our program.”
It’ll all go down at 2:30 p.m. Saturday at Amon G. Carter Stadium. SMU last knocked off TCU in 2011, and has lost by an average of 31 points the past six games.
Buechele faced TCU twice early in his college career at Texas, completing less than half his passes each time.
In 2016, Buechele went 16-of-39 passing for 218 yards with no touchdowns and one interception in the Longhorns’ 31-9 loss in Austin. Then, in 2017 in Fort Worth, Buechele went 21-of-44 for 254 yards and one touchdown in a 24-7 loss.
Buechele knows the difficulty in facing TCU and Gary Patterson’s defense. But he feels his football knowledge has grown since the last time he faced the Frogs, and he’s better prepared to handle anything that might come his way.
“Where we got in trouble is we were always in third-and-long,” Buechele said. “It’ll be important for us to be good on first and second down, and eliminate third-and-longs. Coach Patterson is a great coach and a great defensive mind.”
Patterson had similar praise when asked about Buechele earlier this week.
“For them, he’s giving them consistency,” Patterson said. “He’s a guy that has played in big ball games and he checks into things how he’s supposed to.”
Buechele feels SMU has to have a balanced attack running and throwing the football in order to pull off the upset. The Mustangs have gotten off to a 3-0 start with that game plan, averaging 300 yards passing and 250 yards rushing.
That has equated to SMU scoring 44.3 points a game. Buechele is 65-of-98 passing for 871 yards with five touchdowns and three interceptions this season. Xavier Jones is the leading rusher with 291 yards and seven TDs.
“We have to be balanced,” Buechele said. “That’s a key part of our offense. If we’re balanced and we’re doing well, we’re as good as anybody.”
The Mustangs’ offense should only improve, too. Buechele didn’t join the program until the summer, so most of the skill players have only been working together for three months.
For a player who spent three years surrounded by Texas’ talent, Buechele has high hopes for SMU.
“We have a lot of talent on our team and just the way we play together, offensively and defensively, is a great combo,” Buechele said. “We just try to go 1-0 every week and try to do what we’re doing.”
For his part, Buechele is happy with the decision he made, leaving Texas and landing at SMU as a graduate transfer with two years of eligibility left. The Arlington Lamar product likes the direction the program is headed under second-year coach Sonny Dykes (who spent the 2017 season as an analyst on Patterson’s staff at TCU).
“I loved the guys over at Texas and it was a great opportunity there,” Buechele said. “It’s been a great opportunity here. I’m just excited to be here and happy to be here.”