The very public war of the words between rivals SMU and TCU escalated Tuesday with a flood of accusations from TCU coach Gary Patterson stemming from an on-field scuffle following the Mustangs' 42-34 win.
Patterson suggested SMU planned to plant the school flag at midfield at the Horned Frogs' stadium, which SMU athletics director Rick Hart called "a complete fabrication."
"I can state unequivocally there was no such plan," Hart said in a statement.
Patterson also accused SMU players and staffers of directly or indirectly injuring assistant coach Jerry Kill, who was diagnosed with a concussion suffered during the melee, Patterson said.
In his postgame remarks on Saturday, Patterson said that Kill was hit in the head with a helmet by an SMU player.
"I do need to find out who the player is that hit Coach Kill with a helmet is," he said Saturday. "I will find that out.”
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Hart said he had discussed the matter with TCU athletics director Jeremiah Donati, who assured Hart that Patterson would "walk back" the allegations that an SMU player was responsible for Kill's injury.
Instead, Patterson continued to assign blame to SMU for the kerfuffle, which has added even more spice to the rivalry between two schools battling for recruits and recognition inside the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex.
“At the end of the day, whether it’s SMU, TCU, I can’t substantiate it," he said. "But at the end of the day it wouldn’t have happened if we didn’t have the flag situation.”
And then SMU CB Brandon Crossley takes the flag back to midfield and plants it on the TCU logo.
Some TCU players rush back to the logo, the flag breaks and it’s returned to SMU.
Just rivalry things: pic.twitter.com/0bVtOWvLcK
— Joseph Hoyt (@JoeJHoyt) September 25, 2021
In his statement, Hart said the school had "thoroughly reviewed all available video" and found no evidence that any member of the Mustangs' traveling party was responsible for the incident.
Hart added that Donati agreed there was "no evidence to support Coach Patterson's initial claim."
Said Hart, "While Coach Patterson acknowledged that his postgame claim cannot be substantiated, he accused our program, multiple times, of planning to plant our flag on the field following our win.
"I was on the field after the game, along with our coaches and President, and none of us were even aware there had been an attempt to plant the flag at midfield."
SMU coach Sonny Dykes apologized for the attempt in his postgame comments.
“I think our guys tried to plant the flag at the middle of the field,” said Dykes, who served as an analyst under Patterson before taking the SMU job in 2018. "If they did, they shouldn’t have. I’ll talk to them about that. I apologize for that.”
Follow colleges reporter Paul Myerberg on Twitter @PaulMyerberg
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: TCU-SMU kerfuffle over plant-the-flag football scuffle escalates