Late Saturday night and into the early hours of Sunday morning, the No. 18 ranked Colorado Buffaloes held off the Colorado State Rams, 43-35 in a double overtime thriller, moving to a 3-0 start to the season. Though the Rams put up a bigger fight than many expected, Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders and his team showed once again why they are a must-watch every time they take the field.
The Buffaloes found themselves down 28-17 going into the fourth quarter, but with two and a half minutes left in regulation, University of Colorado Boulder quarterback Shedeur Sanders led a 98 yard drive, capped with a 45 yard touchdown pass to receiver Jimmy Horn Jr, to tie the game at 28-28 and force overtime.
In both overtime periods Sanders picked up where he left off, as he found tight end Michael Harrison in consecutive drives for the back to back game winning touchdowns. In the final play of the game, Colorado defensive safety Trevor Woods intercepted a pass in the end zone, completing the comeback and securing the win for the Buffs.
“We showed that we were resilient. We showed that we would fight,” Coach Sanders said postgame. “We showed that we had no surrender or give-up in us. That’s a lot for a team that’s fairly new.”
Colorado got off to a slow start on Saturday night, which has been a common trend for them to start this season. Buffs’ safety Shilo Sanders was able to intercept a pass and run it back 80 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter, but Colorado could only score once on offense in the first half. By the time the half was over, the score was tied at 14 each, but Colorado only had 85 total yards compared to Colorado State’s 262 total. Colorado also only had the ball for about half the amount of time as the Rams through the first 30 minutes of action.
Midway through the first quarter, Shedeur Sanders threw a deep ball to Colorado star receiver and cornerback Travis Hunter who was interfered with and hit with a dirty shot from a Colorado State safety. Hunter laid motionless for a few seconds but eventually got up and appeared to be okay. Despite the initial injury, Hunter returned to play for a few snaps, but was later taken out of the game and transported to a local hospital. When he exited, the Jackson State transfer had two catches for 21 yards and two tackles.
“First thing I heard was that he will be out for a few weeks,” Coach Sanders said when asked about Hunter. “But we’re going to do what we have to do to take care of him. His health is more important than this game.”
In the second half Colorado bounced back in a massive way as they dominated time of possession and started to make big plays when they needed to. After halftime, the Buffs racked up 18 first downs compared to Colorado State’s 11. In the final minutes of regulation and in overtime, Shedeur Sanders threw for three straight touchdowns to cap off a wild night at Folsom Field.
In another stellar performance to start his career at CU Boulder, quarterback Shedeur Sanders once again proved himself as a top player in the country. Finishing 38/47 with 348 total yards and four touchdowns, including the game-tying drive and two touchdowns in overtime, Sanders showed that regardless of the pressure, he was able to get the job done.
“We like those high pressure moments. That’s what we live in and I wish the whole game was like that honestly. I think that’s when we excel,” Shedeur Sanders said after the game. “But really in my own mind I was just thinking ‘(Tom) Brady Mode’ because he does it all the time and I have to be able to do it too.”
Sanders was able to find four of his receivers for at least 50 yards during the game. Xavier Weaver had nine catches for 98 yards and a touchdown, Jimmy Horn Jr. had seven catches for 66 yards and a touchdown, Tar’Varish Dawson caught five passes for 60 yards and Michael Harrison had seven catches for 76 yards and caught both of the Buffs’ overtime touchdowns.
Though Colorado struggled to stop the Colorado State offense for most of the night, the Buffs were able to force a few turnovers which were crucial in winning the game. Along with Shilo Sanders’ pick-six in the first quarter, safety Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig caught an interception in the third and Trevor Woods came up with the ball on the final play of the game in double overtime.
“Coach [Charles] Kelly puts us in great situations. He gives us great calls and we just have to execute at the end of the day,” Shilo Sanders said after the game. “That’s just how it’s gonna be all season. We have the talent to be the best in this conference and in the country, but we can only do it to ourselves.”
Perhaps at least part of the win for the Buffs came from Colorado State’s self-inflicted wounds. The Rams had a total of 17 penalties which caused them 187 total yards, many of which were personal foul calls against Colorado State.
The rivalry remained heated, stoked by Colorado State Head Coach Jay Norvell’s comments on Deion Sanders before the game, but once their job was finished, Sanders said he wasn’t worried about their rivals from Fort Collins.
“I could be petty of their petty, but I don’t have time for that. I’m on to bigger things,” Coach Sanders said. “I don’t know where all this stuff comes from, but I’m happy for that dude. My success has nothing to do with his success.”
After their stunning double overtime victory to move the team to 3-0, the now No. 19 ranked University of Colorado Buffaloes hope to keep their undefeated season alive next week as they travel to the Pacific Northwest. CU Boulder will be playing against the No. 10 Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium in Eugene next Saturday at 1:30pm MST. The game will be streamed live on ABC.
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