Report: TCU set to introduce SMU’s Sonny Dykes as new coach

Katie Stratman-USA TODAY Sports
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FORT WORTH, Texas — Sonny Dykes is set to be introduced as TCU’s new coach after four seasons at SMU, according to a person familiar with the decision.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because there were no official announcements from TCU or SMU amid numerous reports citing unnamed sources that Dykes would be the Horned Frogs’ new coach. The Fort Worth Star-Telegram was the first to report plans for Dykes to be formally introduced.

TCU said only that a news conference was scheduled on campus “for a major announcement regarding the TCU football program.”

Dykes’ return to the other side of the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is a much-anticipated move. The son of former Texas Tech coach Spike Dykes had been considered a top candidate for the Frogs job since Gary Patterson and TCU mutually agreed Oct. 31 to part ways with four games left in the season.

Patterson, the school’s winningest coach with 181 wins, was in his 21st season. The Frogs finished 5-7 after splitting the final four games under interim head coach Jerry Kill.

After SMU’s regular-season finale at home Saturday, Dykes thanked the school’s administration for a great four years, thanked players for their efforts and said he hated the way the season ended, though it’s not over for the bowl-bound Mustangs (8-4).

“I just couldn’t be more proud of our players. They’ve had to fight through a lot of stuff,” Dykes said after the 34-31 loss to Tulsa. “It hasn’t been easy this week and certainly not in the last 48 hours, but I told them in the locker room how much I appreciated their efforts and the way they handled things. I love those guys.”

Dykes then declined to answer when asked directly about the TCU job, responding, “We’re not talking about that right now.”

Previously the head coach at California and Louisiana Tech, Dykes worked during the 2017 season as a special offensive assistant at TCU in an off-field role for Patterson. He became SMU’s coach when Chad Morris left for Arkansas at the end of that regular season.

Dykes was 30-18 with the Mustangs, overseeing the program’s best stretch of success since returning in 1989 after being the only team ever to serve the NCAA’s so-called death penalty.

The Mustangs went 5-7 in Dykes’ first full season in 2018 after an 0-3 start. Then with an influx of transfer players, most of them returning home to North Texas like quarterback Shane Buechele, SMU started 8-0 in 2019 on way to a 10-3 record. The Mustangs then won their first five games in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season and finished 7-3.

SMU started 7-0 this season before losing four of the past five games. The Mustangs recognized 32 seniors before the Tulsa game.

TCU had its third losing season in six years, after only two the previous 18 seasons. That 24-season span included Patterson’s three years as defensive coordinator before his promotion when Dennis Franchione left at the end of the 2000 regular season to become Alabama’s coach.

While TCU did a nationwide search, athletic director Jeremiah Donati had familiarity with the coach at the school about 40 miles away that fit the primary requirements set out for Patterson’s replacement.

Dykes was a current head coach, and one who understands the changing climate of college football such as name, image and likeness, and the transfer portal. Donati also had indicated his desire to find an offensive coach.

The Mustangs averaged 39.7 points and 483 total yards over 35 games since the start of the 2019 season. They had 595 total yards (350 rushing, 245 passing) in a 42-34 win at TCU earlier this season. The two schools play annually, with next year’s meeting set Sept. 24 in Dallas.

The 52-year-old Dykes was 22-15 at Louisiana Tech from 2010-12 before going to Cal, where he was 19-30 and had only one winning season in his four years there.

No. 3 TCU loses 31-28 in OT to K-State in Big 12 title game

Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
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ARLINGTON, Texas — Ty Zentner kicked a 31-yard field goal in overtime as 13th-ranked Kansas State beat No. 3 TCU 31-28 in the Big 12 championship game Saturday, leaving the Horned Frogs to wait another day to find out if they had already done enough to get into the four-team College Football Playoff.

The Wildcats set up the winning field goal after TCU (12-1) had the opening possession of overtime and Kendre Miller was stopped short on consecutive plays from inside the 1.

Deuce Vaughn ran for 130 yards and a touchdown and Will Howard threw two TDs for the Wildcats (10-3, No. 10 CFP), who six weeks earlier had jumped out to a 28-10 lead early in the second quarter before TCU scored the game’s last 28 points.

That was one of five games the Horned Frogs (12-1, No. 3 CFP) won when trailing after halftime. But they couldn’t do it again with the chance to guarantee being the first Big 12 team other than Oklahoma to make the playoff.

TCU, the first Big 12 team to complete a regular season undefeated since Texas in 2009, could still get into the playoff. While their case was helped when fourth-ranked Southern California (11-2) lost 47-24 to Utah in the Pac-12 championship game Friday night, the Frogs now have to wait until the final CFP rankings come out Sunday.

Big 12 Commissioner Brett Yormark said before the game that TCU, with first-year coach Sonny Dykes, already deserved to be in the playoff.

“You look at their strength of schedule. You think about how they’ve performed all year long,” Yormark said. “I think regardless, they should be in, for sure.”

No. 4 USC falls to Utah in Pac-12 Championship, damaging playoff hopes

Utah vs. USC
USA Today
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LAS VEGAS — No. 12 Utah pounded a limping, bloodied Caleb Williams and roared past No. 4 Southern California 47-24 on Friday night to win the Pac-12 Championship and put USC’s College Football Playoff hopes in doubt.

The loss by the Trojans (11-2) could open the way for Ohio State (11-1) to take their spot in the playoffs. USC is fourth in the CFP rankings, the Buckeyes are one step behind.

Ohio State had to be Utah’s biggest fan. The Buckeyes move up in playoff consideration, with 12-0 Michigan at No. 2 with the Big Ten championship game on Saturday, that would give the Big Ten conference two playoff teams for the first time. It also would extend the Pac-12′s playoff drought — Washington in 2017 is the last team from that conference to make the playoffs.

Utah (10-3) is heading to the Rose Bowl, but the Utes already were going there regardless of the outcome of the title game. They are responsible for USC’s only losses, having edged the Trojans 43-42 on Oct. 15 in Salt Lake City.

The Utes rolled up 533 yards of offense in the rematch, and Cam Rising passed for 310 yards and three touchdowns.

Williams threw for 363 yards and three TDs. He entered the game as the leading Heisman Trophy candidate, but wasn’t the same after getting injured in the first quarter.

The Trojans looked as if they were going to run away with the game, taking a 17-3 lead early in the second quarter behind some stellar play by Williams.

He appeared to hurt his left knee or leg in the first quarter on a 59-yard run in which he took a big hit at the end, and he suffered a bad cut on the pinky finger of his throwing hand. He spent most of the game limping, and wasn’t the same after a sterling first quarter in which the Trojans outgained Utah in total yards 194-70, and Williams had both touchdown passes.

After USC failed to pick up a fourth-and-8 from Utah’s 37-yard line, the Utes scored two touchdowns in the final 3:55 of the first half, and suddenly the game was tied at 17. Instead of a rout, the game was beginning to look like the shootout the Utes won in October.

The game took on that tone at times in the second half, but USC had no answer for how to slow down Utah, which outscored the Trojans 44-7 in overcoming that two-touchdown deficit.

ATTENDANCE RECORD

A announced sellout crowd of 61,195 made this the largest for a neutral-site Pac-12 Championship. It beat the previous record of 58,476 fans. who watched Southern California-Stanford in Santa Clara, California, in 2015.