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Colorado Tops No. 17 TCU In Deion Sanders’ 1st Game As Head Coach

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After his news conference, Shedeur Sanders got up, grabbed his phone, and took a photo of the stat sheet, which showed 510 throwing yards, the most ever for a quarterback from Colorado.

Sanders, his Hall of Fame father, coach, and the rest of the Colorado Buffaloes were gathering a receipt after Saturday’s 45-42 victory against No. 17 TCU, not a picture, to serve as a keepsake. They had heard that they wouldn’t win many games, that their squad had too many gaps after being overhauled, and that Sanders, Travis Hunter, and other players would have trouble making the jump from Jackson State, an FCS program in the SWAC, to the highest level of collegiate football.

“For real? Shedeur Sanders? From an HBCU? The one that played at Jackson last year? The one that you asked me, ‘Why would I give him the starting job?'” Colorado coach Deion Sanders asked mockingly about his son, whom he had coached at Jackson State before Colorado. “I’ve got receipts. I know who they are.”

The first Buffaloes quarterback to surpass 500 passing yards in a game was Shedeur Sanders. With four touchdowns and no interceptions on his 38 of 47 passes, he also set a Colorado record by having four separate teammates surpass 100 receiving yards.

No one was more startled than the man delivering the goods by his commanding debut. Playing in the FBS and against a TCU squad that made it to the national championship game the previous season made little to no difference for Shedeur Sanders. He stated that while he respects TCU, he does not “fear names.”

“It’s the same recipe, the same preparation, same things we’re doing over and over,” Sanders said. “It’s just magnified and y’all are able to see us, more cameras and stuff. The only difference is the media and everybody is driving the headlines.”

Colorado, which had a losing record of 1-11 the previous year and had hired Deion Sanders in December, won its first away game since 2021, breaking a string of 24 defeats in a row when the underdog was down by at least 21 points.

The club earned its first victory of any kind since 2019 and its best road victory against a ranked opponent since 2002.

Deion Sanders made his Colorado debut with a team that had 86 new players, including sons Shedeur and Shilo as well as Hunter. Sanders, a cornerback who is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, was hired after three successful seasons at Jackson State.

Sanders explained his plan to flip the roster at his first team meeting in December, but the changes garnered criticism from coaches and others, as well as some dour predictions for the season. However, Colorado passed its first test with flying colors, dominating for the first 212 quarters before wiping out three deficits in the final minutes.

“Turn on the film,” Deion Sanders said. “We’re going to continuously be questioned because we do things that have never been done. … We going to consistently do what we do, because I’m here and ain’t going nowhere. These young men in there right now, they believe. Not all of them believed before. But right now, they came up, one by one, two by two, ‘Coach, we believe.'”

“Now Boulder believes.”

The two stars of Colorado’s roster revamp, Shedeur Sanders and Hunter, both excelled against TCU. According to ESPN Stats & Information, Hunter, the No. 2 recruit in the 2022 recruiting class, became the first FBS player to record over 100 receiving yards and an interception in the same game since Miami’s Quadtrine Hill in 2002. Hunter turned down Florida State to play for Deion Sanders at Jackson State.

He caught 11 passes for 119 yards, and he almost caught more on two spectacular dives but lost control of the ball. Midway through the third quarter, with Colorado leading 24-21 and TCU at the Buffaloes’ 4-yard line, he made an interception by stepping in front of a Chandler Morris ball.

“Travis is him, like the young folks say, Travis is it,” Sanders said. “I always promote all my kids, and I really think we’ve got a couple guys who should be front-runners for the Heisman right now.

“Who did what they did today?”

Hunter, who said his high school maximum was 120 snaps, played 129 snaps versus TCU. He had three defensive tackles, a pass breakup, and an interception while being targeted 16 times as a receiver.

“It ain’t no different, football is football no matter who is playing,” Hunter said. “You’ve got to go out and dominate and that’s my biggest thing. I went out there and dominated. A lot of people doubted me because I rated myself as No. 1 [on the] Heisman watch, but now they’re praising me now, because they’ve finally seen what I’ve seen, my vision and what the coaches’ vision is for me.”

According to an analysis by ESPN Stats & Information, Colorado had been kept to fewer than 400 yards before Saturday in 26 straight games, the longest current record in the FBS. In the previous two seasons, the squad was one of only three FBS teams without a passer with 300 yards. No player from Colorado scored more than one touchdown from the line of scrimmage in a single game last year.

The Buffaloes, though, made a strong run of 565 yards on 81 plays and controlled the ball for 34 minutes, 33 seconds. Among the offensive standouts were wide receivers Jimmy Horn Jr. and Xavier Weaver, who combined for 235 receiving yards on 17 catches and had a combined three touchdown receptions and a team-high 135 receiving yards.

“It feels great knowing that everybody can do their job and make plays,” said Edwards, an ESPN top-150 recruit who flipped his commitment from Notre Dame to sign with Colorado. “In high school, sometimes you’re that guy and you’ve got to make the plays. Now you go on the field, you’ve got [Hunter], you’ve got Jimmy, you’ve got me, you’ve got everybody else making plays.”

Colorado, according to TCU coach Sonny Dykes, was more prepared than his team to play.

“It was terrible,” Dykes said. “I thought it was a really bad defensive performance.”

Deion Sanders, who had numerous operations for circulation problems in a foot over the summer, ran onto the field with his players and stood the entire game, later stating that the foot was “not good” but that he was “thankful that God gave me what I needed to finish.” He had “a dad moment” with Shedeur and Shilo, a safety who led Colorado with nine solo tackles, as he received treatment for his injured foot in the locker room.

Rick George, the athletic director, and Sanders’ assistant coaches were thanked by Sanders for the hiring.

“They know I’m a winner, and we’re going to end up winning,” Sanders said. “Ain’t none of [the media] thought we were going to end up sitting here. You were supposed to be on the other side, interviewing [TCU] or asking me, ‘What happened? You said this and you said that.’

“Now what? Everybody’s quiet now.”

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