FORT WORTH, Texas — Shane Buechele threw for 288 yards with two touchdowns and ran for another score as SMU held on to beat No. 25 TCU 41-38 on Saturday, ending a seven-game losing streak in the rivalry and improving to 4-0 for the first time since 1984.

The Mustangs went ahead to stay after jumping ahead 15-0 in less than 10 minutes. Their last 4-0 start came when TCU and SMU were Southwest Conference rivals, and not long before crippling sanctions led to the NCAA's so-called death penalty when the Mustangs didn't even field a team in 1987 and 1988.

"When you play against a really good team and you find a way to win, and you do it on the road, it's gratifying," SMU coach Sonny Dykes said, trying to stay focused on this year's team but knowing what a big deal the win over TCU and 4-0 start is for SMU fans.

TCU true freshman quarterback Max Duggan's third touchdown pass of the second half came with 3:37 left. The Frogs got the ball back a minute later after a three-and-out by SMU, including a snap that Buechele wasn't ready for that resulted in a 23-yard loss.

But after coach Gary Patterson opted against TCU (2-1) trying a 51-yard field goal attempt, Duggan's fourth-down pass never had a chance and SMU ran out the clock.

"We talked about it all week really, it was going to be a 60-minute football game," Dykes said. "Had an idea that it would kind of come down to the very end. I think our guys did a good job of preparing for that."

Xavier Jones ran for 79 yards with a touchdown, and caught a 3-yard TD early in the fourth quarter for a 38-24 lead. That ended an 84-yard drive that started when TCU running back Sewo Olonilua lined up in wildcat formation on fourth-and-1 and was sacked for a 6-yard loss when he looked to pass.

Olonilua fumbled at TCU's 4 in the first quarter, giving SMU the ball back right after Buechele was stuffed for no gain on fourth-and-goal from the 1. That set up a 1-yard TD run by Jones.

"It's a simple thing. We got outplayed. We got outcoached," Patterson said.

Buechele, the former Texas quarterback who is one of seven graduate transfers for SMU, was 23-of-34 passing. He had gone 0-2 against TCU while with the Longhorns.

On the same play Buechele had a pass intercepted in the end zone in the second quarter, the helmet of an SMU offensive lineman was apparently ripped off his head by a defender and heaved about 20 yards down the field. Second-year Mustangs coach Sonny Dykes, an offensive analyst for Patterson, was livid that no penalty was called.

Darius Anderson broke free for a 77-yard run on the next play, setting up his 3-yard TD to get TCU within 18-14. Anderson finished with 19 carries for 161 yards and two scores.

"It's a tough loss," Anderson said.

THE TAKEAWAY

SMU: The Mustangs had lost the last seven in the series by an average margin of four touchdowns. Buechele has two big receivers in James Proche (10 catches, 66 yards, one touchdown) and Reggie Roberson Jr. (four catches, 122 yards), a former transfer from West Virginia.

TCU: Duggan finished 16-of-36 passing for 188 yards, with two TDs to Pro Wells, after going 1 of 10 for 22 yards before halftime in his first start. "We didn't win. That's how all quarterbacks get judged," Patterson said. Graduate transfer Alex Delton started the first two games. The Frogs were coming of a three-touchdown road win against Big Ten team Purdue, and had allowed only 209.5 total yards per game.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

TCU will fall out of the Top 25, a week after getting ranked and making it 15 seasons in a row to appear in the poll. SMU didn't get any votes in the AP poll last week, and hasn't been ranked since 1986.

UP NEXT

SMU plays its American Athletic Conference opener at USF next Saturday.

TCU stays at home next Saturday to open Big 12 Conference play against Kansas.