Washington hires Fresno State’s Kalen DeBoer as head coach

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Washington hired Fresno State’s Kalen DeBoer on Monday to lead the Huskies, handing a program that has struggled offensively to a coach with a track record of productive and creative offenses.

The 47-year-old DeBoer met with Washington officials in Fresno, California, early in the day and the deal was announced a few hours later.

DeBoer has spent the past two seasons at Fresno State, going 12-6. The Bulldogs went 9-3 this season, including a victory against UCLA. They lead the Mountain West in yards per play (6.34) and yards per game (463.6) and are second in scoring (33.6 points per game).

“My family and I are so grateful for the opportunity to lead such a storied program and be part of this prestigious institution,” DeBoer said in a statement. “The tough, hard-nosed tradition of Washington football speaks for itself, and it was obvious throughout this process that UW is committed to competing at the highest level.”

He previously worked under Jeff Tedford at Fresno State during the 2017 and 2018 seasons as offensive coordinator. He left to take the offensive coordinator job at Indiana for the 2019 season before returning to Fresno State in 2020 after Tedford stepped down for health reasons.

His history with Tedford likely played in DeBoer’s favor with Washington. Tedford has a tight friendship with former Washington coach Chris Petersen, who has served as an adviser for athletic director Jen Cohen since he stepped down after the 2019 season.

Tedford also worked as a consultant for Washington during the 2016 season when the Huskies won the Pac-12 championship and reached the College Football Playoff.

“We set out to find the best fit for Husky football and we found an individual that exemplifies everything this program represents,” Cohen said in a statement. “Kalen is a winner and champion, plain and simple. He has succeeded at every stop because he does it the right way and is committed to a culture of excellence for Husky football student-athletes.”

Prior to his time at Fresno State, DeBoer worked at Eastern Michigan and Southern Illinois, and was the head coach at his alma mater Sioux Falls from 2005-09. He went 63-7 in five seasons as head coach, winning three NAIA championships.

Washington is replacing Jimmy Lake, who was fired on Nov. 14 after just 13 games coached. Lake was suspended for making physical contact with one of his players on the sideline on Nov. 6 in a loss to Oregon. A week later, Lake was dismissed, capping a downward spiral season that started with a loss to FCS powerhouse Montana in Week 1 and never improved.

Washington lost its final four games and finished with a losing record for the first time since 2009. The late-season slide was capped with a 40-13 loss to Washington State in the Apple Cup, the worst loss for the Huskies in the 113 games played between the rivals.

While DeBoer appears to be a solid choice and has the previous head coaching experience that was a requirement for the Huskies, he lacks some of the big name clout many Washington fans were hoping would come with the hire.

The hope for the Huskies is DeBoer works out as well as their last hire of a former Mountain West coach, when Petersen made the move from Boise State in 2013.

DeBoer will be inheriting a youthful team with only a small group of seniors but likely significant turnover between graduation, players entering the NFL draft and likely movement in the transfer portal.

Washington’s recent success gives rise to expectations of a swift turnaround. Washington is one of only two Pac-12 schools to have reached the College Football Playoff and it made a bowl game every year between 2010-19. Washington played in three straight New Year’s Six bowl games between 2016-18.

“We could not be more excited to get to Seattle and get to work,” DeBoer said.

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.