Gold: 3 takeaways from Colorado's upset win over TCU to open Deion Sanders era
Forget “We coming.”
Behind a record performance by quarterback Shedeur Sanders, a remarkable showing by two-way star Travis Hunter and an inspiring coaching job, Colorado pulled off the thrilling 45-42 upset of defending national runner-up TCU.
All year long, Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders smiled at doubters. There aren’t going to be any more doubters after today.
Here are three takeaways from a Game of the Year candidate in Week 1.
Hunter is beyond expectations
Travis Hunter is him.
The simple words from Coach Prime at halftime summed up the dynamic dual-sided performance by Hunter. It’s hard to actually encapsulate his effort.
He played more than 60 1st half plays at wide receiver and cornerback, catching 7 passes for 42 yards while allowing 1 reception for 5 yards on defense. He’d go on to finish with 11 receptions for 119 yards and an incredible red zone interception that preserved a 24-21 lead for Colorado.
Travis Hunter just picked off the Rail on Mesh
Pretty unbelievable IQ & Instincts pic.twitter.com/PiZgSxWcus
— Coach Dan Casey (@CoachDanCasey) September 2, 2023
But he also had 3 near-touchdown catches in addition to his highlight-reel grabs, generally looking like the best, most athletic player throughout the game.
Asked about Hunter’s showing at halftime, Prime did not hold back.
“He is him,” Sanders said at the half. “We missed him on two deep balls. He gets those two deep balls, the Heisman is at his crib chilling right now. God bless.”
And so is Shedeur Sanders
There was plenty of hype on Hunter entering the season after a standout freshman year at Jackson State in 2022. He was the No. 1 overall recruit in the country after all. But Shedeur Sanders had his fair share of doubters, despite two prolific seasons with the Tigers.
Each and every question about whether Sanders could successfully transition from the SWAC to Power 5 football was answered in a hurry on Saturday. Sanders was spectacular, completing 38 of 47 passes for a school-record 510 yards and 4 touchdowns with a quarterback rating of 200.1 against a team that made it to the championship game last year. Four Colorado pass-catchers topped 100 yards on the day. Unreal.
Throw out the book. Toss out any expectations. We’ve got at least four Heisman candidates in the Pac-12.
Shedeur Sanders looking at the Heisman pic.twitter.com/jq1M885C4S
— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) September 2, 2023
The defense still needs work
I covered this last week after USC’s spotty defensive performance in Week 0. It’s a heck of a lot easier to form a cohesive offense through the transfer portal than a cohesive defense.
After an achingly slow start, the TCU offense hit Hypnotoad mode, scoring touchdowns on 4 of 5 drives between the late 2nd quarter and early 4th quarter.
Colorado rarely got pressure on Morris after the 1st quarter, with zero sacks, and TCU finished with 250-plus yards on the ground and through the air.