Deion Sanders, the Hall of Fame cornerback and former Jackson State coach, made a sensational start to his Colorado career by guiding the Buffaloes to a 45-42 victory over No. 17 TCU on Saturday. Sanders, who took over a program that went 1-11 last season, revamped his roster with 86 new players, mostly from the transfer portal, and instilled a new culture of confidence and swagger.
Sanders silences the doubters with his coaching acumen
Many critics questioned Sanders’ ability to coach at the FBS level, especially after he left Jackson State amid controversy over his contract and allegations of recruiting violations. Some also wondered how he would handle the pressure and expectations of leading a Power Five program. Sanders, however, proved them wrong with his tactical decisions and motivational skills.
He showed his offensive prowess by unleashing his son, Shedeur Sanders, who threw for a school-record 510 yards and four touchdowns. He also utilized his star recruit, Travis Hunter, who played both ways as a wide receiver and cornerback, and had a spectacular diving interception in the fourth quarter. He also made some bold calls, such as going for it on fourth-and-one at his own 29-yard line with less than two minutes left, and converting it with a quarterback sneak.
Sanders also inspired his players with his charisma and passion. He gave them a fiery pregame speech, telling them to “shock the world” and “make history”. He celebrated with them on the sidelines after every big play, and hugged them after the final whistle. He also challenged the media and the doubters after the game, saying “I’ve got receipts” and asking them if they believed in him and his team.
TCU stunned by Colorado’s explosive offense and resilient defense
TCU, which finished as the national runner-up last season, entered the game as a heavy favorite, but was caught off guard by Colorado’s explosive offense and resilient defense. The Horned Frogs struggled to contain Shedeur Sanders, who completed 38 of 47 passes and spread the ball to four different receivers who had more than 100 yards each. They also had trouble stopping Hunter, who had 11 catches for 119 yards and made some clutch plays on defense.
TCU’s offense, led by quarterback Max Duggan and running back Zach Evans, tried to keep pace with Colorado’s scoring frenzy, but was hampered by turnovers and penalties. Duggan threw for 376 yards and three touchdowns, but also had two interceptions and a fumble. Evans ran for 132 yards and two touchdowns, but also lost a fumble. TCU committed nine penalties for 75 yards, including some costly ones that negated big plays or extended Colorado’s drives.
TCU had a chance to tie the game or take the lead in the final minutes, but Colorado’s defense came up with a crucial stop on fourth-and-five at the Buffaloes’ 40-yard line. Duggan’s pass intended for Quentin Johnston was broken up by Hunter, who dove in front of the receiver and tipped the ball away. Colorado then ran out the clock to seal the upset.
Colorado makes a statement in college football landscape
Colorado’s stunning win over TCU was not only a personal triumph for Sanders and his players, but also a statement for the college football landscape. The Buffaloes showed that they are not a pushover in the Pac-12 conference, which has been dominated by Oregon and USC in recent years. They also showed that they can compete with any team in the nation, regardless of their ranking or reputation.
Colorado’s win also reflected a truer image of college football, which is undergoing a major transformation with the advent of the transfer portal, name-image-likeness deals, and playoff expansion. Sanders embraced these changes and used them to his advantage, creating a diverse and talented roster that can challenge the status quo. He also brought his authentic personality and flair to the game, making it more entertaining and engaging for fans.
Colorado will look to build on its momentum when it hosts Nebraska next week, while TCU will try to bounce back when it visits SMU.
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