Tom Herman

During Tom Herman’s four seasons as head coach at Texas, the Longhorns were just 1-4 against rival Oklahoma and were unable to win a Big 12 championship. Eric Gay/Associated Press

AUSTIN, Texas — Texas fired Tom Herman because it was tired of waiting for him to deliver a Big 12 title and turn the Longhorns back into a national championship contender.

Next up: Steve Sarkisian, the architect of the Alabama Crimson Tide’s offense and their tsunami of points this season.

Texas abruptly fired Herman on Saturday after four seasons, then followed it hours later with the announcement it has hired Sarkisian, Alabama’s offensive coordinator.

It’s a quick move Texas expects will deliver quick results. The Longhorns are not known to be a patient bunch.

“I think there’s championship talent on this team. Clearly, there’s work to be done or a change wouldn’t be made,” Sarkisian said.

Sarkisian has directed an overwhelming Crimson Tide offense this season that has produced two Heisman Trophy finalists – quarterback Mac Jones and receiver DeVonta Smith – and has Alabama rolling into the College Football Playoff championship game against Ohio State. He recently won the Broyles Award given to college football’s top assistant coach.

Sarkisian, 46, has previous head coaching experience at Washington and Southern California. He has been Alabama’s offensive coordinator under Nick Saban since 2019.

“This is a unique and compelling opportunity to lead this storied program to the next level, competing once again amongst the best in college football,” Sarkisian said in a statement released by Texas.

Sarkisian will remain with Alabama for the championship game.

“Coach Saban wants to win a national championship, so he didn’t push me out the door,” Sarkisian said.

His new job will require him not just to win – Herman did that with a 32-18 record – but to knock rival Oklahoma off the top of the Big 12, get the Longhorns back among the national elite and make sure they also don’t get swamped by Texas A&M’s rise in the recruiting battles for homegrown talent.

He will be Texas’ fourth head coach since the program’s last Big 12 championship in 2009. Since then, Texas has fired Mack Brown – the only coach to lead the program to a national championship (2005) in 50 years – Charlie Strong and Herman.

Sarkisian was 46-35 overall at Washington and USC but was fired midway through his second season with USC in 2015 and went into alcohol rehabilitation treatment. He later lost a $30 million breach of contract and disability discrimination lawsuit against USC that alleged the school fired him instead of allowing him to seek treatment.

Herman still had three years left on a guaranteed contract set to pay him more than $6 million per year.

MISSISSIPPI: The school says it has reached agreement in principle with Coach Lane Kiffin on a new contract.

The school made the announcement hours before the Rebels (5-5) – in their first season with Kiffin as coach – beat Indiana in the Outback Bowl. It was their first bowl appearance in five seasons. Contract details have not been completed.

Ole Miss broke the Southeastern Conference record for total offense in conference games, averaging 562.4 yards, and ranked among the top 20 nationally among Bowl Subdivision teams in 10 categories, including scoring offense (40.7), rushing offense (217.7) and passing offense (344.8).

In a career that has included stops at Florida Atlantic, USC and Tennessee, Kiffin has a career record of 66-39.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

ORANGE BOWL: Devon Achane had two late touchdown runs, including a 76-yarder with 3:44 left that put Texas A&M ahead to stay, and the fifth-ranked Aggies beat No. 14 North Carolina 41-27 in the Miami Gardens, Florida, to cap a winless bowl season for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Kellen Mond passed for 232 yards and ran for a score for the Aggies (9-1), who were in the Orange Bowl for the first time since 1944. Texas A&M Coach Jimbo Fisher improved to 3-0 in Orange Bowls, winning two previous ones at Florida State.

Achane’s go-ahead score came on a play where he darted left, nearly tripped over one of his own blockers, broke a tackle and then got loose down the sideline. The Aggies got a fourth-down stop on the ensuing possession, and Achane sealed the win on a 1-yard run with 1:34 left.

Sam Howell passed for 234 yards and three touchdowns, two of them to Josh Downs, for the Tar Heels (8-4). North Carolina was without leading rushers Javonte Williams and Michael Carter, leading receiver Dyami Brown and top tackler Chazz Surratt – all of whom opted out of the bowl game.

FIESTA BOWL: Breece Hall ran for 136 yards and two touchdowns, Brock Purdy accounted for two scores and No. 12 Iowa State (9-3, CFP 10) grinded out a 34-17 victory over No. 25 Oregon (4-3, CFP 25) in Glendale, Arizona.

The Cyclones used their ball-control offense to dominate time of possession and win a New Year’s Six bowl for the first time.

Hal had 34 carries and his ninth 100-yard game this season. Purdy threw for 156 yards and a touchdown on 20-of-29 passing and added a touchdown on the ground.

Iowa State had a time of possession advantage of more than 25 minutes.

OUTBACK BOWL: Matt Corral threw for 342 yards and two touchdowns, leading Mississippi (5-5) to a 26-20 upset of seventh-ranked Indiana (6-2) in Tampa, Florida.

Corral’s 3-yard pass to Dontario Drummond put the Rebels ahead for good with 4:12 remaining. The Ole Miss defense came through with one more stop to ensure the school’s first non-losing record since going 6-6 in 2017.

Jack Tuttle was 26 of 45 for 201 yards in his second start in place Michael Penix Jr. for Indiana, which lost its star quarterback to a season-ending knee injury in late November.

GATOR BOWL: A.J. Rose ran for a career-high 148 yards, Chris Rodriguez added 84 yards and two scores, and Kentucky (5-6) held off No. 24 North Carolina State (8-4) for a 23-21 win in Jacksonville, Florida.

 


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