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Buffaloes show they're (barely) ready for Prime Time
Confetti from a college football weekend.
When it was over, they stormed the field again, as if each victory at Colorado still deserves to be treated like Neil Armstrong’s one small step.
The last three wins at Folsom Field have triggered the same ritual. To be fair, that takes in a 2-year period. Colorado’s only win in 2022 was over Cal, and the joy was heartfelt, and then Colorado’s new Buffs-for-hire beat Nebraska last week in the first home game for Deion Sanders and son Shedeur, the quarterback.
Saturday’s win was different. It was a primal exhale. All week, Coach Prime’s handiwork has been promoted and advertised and glorified, as it the fait were accompli. Colorado State, the nominal rival that had been shelled by Washington State in its only previous game, came to town and spent most of the game trying to prove that Colorado was all hat and no hoof. The Rams led 28-17 with 12 minutes left.
But Colorado hung around, made fewer mistakes, and finally had to confront a stark assignment. They got the ball 98 yards away from the CSU end zone that had to find a touchdown in 2;06 and had to be followed by a successful 2-point conversion, Anything less, and the weekend-long party that included The Rock would have landed in a hard place.
Shedeur Sanders got the job done in a minute and a half and in nine snaps. Two of those plays were Colorado penalties. He had a 2nd and 14 on the Colorado State 45 when he found Jimmy Horn for the touchdown, and then Michael Harrison for the 2-pointer. Ultimately he would find Harrison for both overtime touchdowns, and when Trevor Woods got the final interception, Deion and the Buffaloes could dodge a massive dose of schadenfreude and try to reassemble themselves for next week’s episode of Better Call Prime, to be filmed at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Ore.
One can expect Deion to teach from a position of strength, because Colorado’s flaws were laid bare by their land-grant cousins. They had trouble running. They had trouble tackling. They had trouble generating any yards after catch. Shedeur, for all his gifts, really would rather not run the ball and doesn’t seem real comfortable in the headlights of a pass rush, although he skipped out of traffic neatly before his throw to Horn capped that last fourth-quarter drive.
With all that, Sanders was 38 for 47 for four touchdowns.
The Buffs were the most mysterious team in America before this started, but then they provided future opponents with two weeks of tape, and CSU coach Jay Norvell paid attention.
Norvell will always wonder what might have happened if the Rams had just committed maybe 15 penalties instead of 17. After all, they converted 10 of 20 third downs.
Of course, Colorado can righteously maintain it would have won much easier if Travis Hunter, the two-way prodigy, hadn’t been blasted out of the game, and eventually into a hospital, on an egregious hit by Henry Blackburn. The Buffs dearly missed Turner on both sides. His return will be somewhat important to Colorado’s next two weeks, at Oregon and then USC at Boulder.
“I think I heard he would be out for the next two weeks,” Deion said. “I know I heard that for sure.”
He admitted the lack of a run game worried him. “That’s a darn attitude,” he said. “That’s a straight-up attitude. I know we need to develop an attitude, and sooner rather than later.”
But it’s hard to expect Colorado fans to observe the limits of reality when Sanders has put their dreams into a microwave and served them up with appetizers and glaze. It’s also difficult to tell the CU kids to quit storming the field. They’re being dragged into euporia by a team that is storming the sport.
Missouri 30, Kansas State 27
– Such legendary SEC athletes as Herschel Walker and Bo Jackson are now joined in the record books by Harrison Mevis, at 5-foot-11 and 243. He is known as the Thiccer Kicker, has even gotten a trademark on his nickname, and an establishment in Columbia, Mo. sells the Thiccer Kicker Burger. He won’t have to pay for many of them after Saturday, when he drilled a 61-yard field goal to knock off 15th-ranked Kansas State. That’s the longest field goal in the history of the SEC, and Mevis can thank his coaches for that, since they messed around and took a delay of game penalty.
The Tigers are now 3-0 and begin to plot their chances in an unusually shaky SEC. The Wildcats, who won the Big 12 championship game last year, could have taken the lead, but quarterback Will Howard was called for a delay of game on the Missouri three, and K-State had to settle for a tying field goal.
– Sophomore Luther Burden, the kind of prime recruit from St. Louis that Missouri needs, continued to impress. He caught seven passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns, and has 15 for 213 this season.
Alabama 17, South Florida 3
– Alabama’s last four quarterbacks are starting in the NFL. That streak is likely to end, but first Alabama has to figure out which QB is which. After Jalen Millroe started against Texas last week, he was benched for the entire game Saturday as Notre Dame transfer Tyler Buchner went 5-for-14 for 34 yards, and freshman Ty Simpson went 5-for-9 for 73. Simpson got the win, thanks to a 14-point fourth quarter, but Nick Saban wouldn’t commit to a starter against Mississippi this week.
– Senior Roydell Williams rambled for 129 yards in 17 carries to prevent a breathtaking upset..
– South Florida had won four games the past three years, so it hired Alex Gosech from the Tennessee star. Gosech was born in Moscow, and his parents fled to the U.S. in 1991 during a period of post-Soviet unrest. He was seven at the time. They found an apartment in Brooklyn and Gosech began attending elementary school, where he learned his first word of English: “Bathroom.”
ACC 4, Big Ten 1
– Maybe the Pac-12 renegades will enjoy their time in the Big 10, despite the weather and the travel. The ACC flattened their rivals, winning every game except for Virginia Tech’s 35-16 loss to Rutgers.
– Duke improved to 3–0 by beating the Purple Hazers from Northwestern, 38-14. Syracuse is also undefeated after it beat Purdue 35-20 on the road. Louisville trimmed Indiana on the road, 21-14.
– The most impressive win was North Carolina’s 31-13 number on Minnesota. Drake Maye threw for 414 yards and two touchdowns and went 29 for 40 for 414 yards. Nate McCollum caught 15 of those and took them 165 yards.
South Alabama 33, Oklahoma State 7
– This whole “power conference” concept took another beating Saturday, most notably by the Jaguars, who embarrassed Oklahoma State in Stillwater. South Alabama outgained OSU 395-208, didn’t commit a turnover, and held three Cowboys’ quarterbacks to 3.3 yards per pass.
– The South Alabama quarterback is a transfer from Toledo named Carter Bradley, who only needed to throw 16 passes. Two went for touchdowns. La’Damian Webb ran for 151 yards and scored twice. Bradley’s father is Gus Bradley, who is the defensive coordinator for Jacksonville and once performed that duty for the Chargers and the Super Bowl champion Seahawks.
– Miami of Ohio outlasted Cincinnati, 31-24 in overtime, and Ohio played host to Iowa State and won, 10-7. Arizona State, which lost to Oklahoma State in Tempe last week, was drilled by Fresno State, 29-0, thanks to eight turnovers.