3 takeaways from Deion's electric Colorado debut
It took exactly one week for Deion Sanders to deliver on all the offseason hype and make Colorado's decision to hire him look like the move of the year.
The Buffaloes stormed into national runner-up TCU's home and stunned the Horned Frogs as 20.5-point underdogs in a 45-42 victory Saturday.
It's Colorado's first win over a top-20 opponent on the road since 2002 - a period of 27 straight losses - and already matches the program's win total from all of last season.
Here are three quick takeaways from Sanders' incredible start to his Colorado tenure.
Deion brought his Louis
Sanders dropped the line of the offseason when discussing the transfer portal after Colorado hired him: "I'm bringing my luggage with me, and it's Louis." It's safe to say that Saturday's game made it very clear who he was talking about. A quartet of new players, led by Sanders' son Shedeur, absolutely starred for the Buffaloes in Fort Worth.
Shedeur Sanders came out of high school with plenty of hype and was ranked the 13th-best quarterback in the class by ESPN. Though he received plenty of interest from some solid programs, he opted to follow his dad to Jackson State and dominated at FCS level. Despite that pedigree, his brilliant debut was still nothing short of stunning. Sanders finished with an absurd 510 yards passing, setting the school record in his first game with the program. He barely missed a throw throughout the contest, torching the Horned Frogs' defense for a gaudy 38-for-47 stat line.
Hunter was ranked by most recruiting services as the top player in the country in the class of 2022, but he stunned the college football world by deciding to turn down Florida State and play for Sanders at Jackson State. He didn't just dominate the Horned Frogs from his cornerback position Saturday, but he also starred on the offense as an unguardable receiver. When it was all said and done, Hunter played over 130 plays, caught 11 balls for over 100 yards, and turned in a jaw-dropping interception eerily reminiscent of a play his coach used to make.
Hunter is the first FBS player in the last 20 seasons to have at least eight receptions and an interception in the same game, according to Heather Dinich of ESPN.
Edwards was the seventh-ranked running back in this year's recruiting class and was initially headed to Notre Dame before flipping to join Coach Prime late in the cycle. After Saturday, it's clear that was a massive get for Colorado. Edwards was all over the field on offense for the Buffaloes, catching five passes for 135 yards and a whopping three touchdowns while also adding 24 yards and a score on the ground.
Jimmy Horn Jr.
Horn came over from South Florida ahead of this season and instantly paid dividends as a weapon in the passing game. He was Shedeur Sanders' go-to option on multiple third downs, with his ability to separate giving the star passer a very important safety option. The final damage was 11 catches for 117 yards and a score. Horn joined Hunter, Edwards, and Xavier Weaver in giving Colorado four different 100-yard receivers for the first time in school history.
Most expected Colorado to be must-see television early in the season but thought the attention would wane when it'd begin to lose games as expected. It's safe to say the interest in Coach Prime's program will be strong throughout the entire season. Sean Lewis' decision to leave his head coaching position at Kent State to come run the Colorado offense proved to be a home-run hire by Deion Sanders, as the attack looked virtually unstoppable throughout the contest. That'll definitely ensure the on-field product is very watchable regardless of who the opponent is.
The main draw was always going to be Sanders and his electric personality, something we saw very early in the day. Heading to the locker room, Sanders complimented Hunter's effort as only he can.
An equally engaging interview followed the win, with Sanders showing once again why he's instantly become the most interesting coach in the sport.
Lack of depth could be an issue
If we had to pour cold water on the incredible debut, the lack of depth on the Colorado roster could very well be an issue as the season progresses. The Buffaloes don't get their bye until Week 8 and face a very difficult next four games: They have home dates versus Nebraska and Colorado State before traveling to Oregon and hosting USC.
As mentioned above, Hunter played an absurd 110 snaps in Saturday's game, an outrageous amount of time on the field given how much running he does at both the cornerback and wide receiver position. While both Deion Sanders and Hunter ensured he wasn't tired by the end of the contest, it's virtually impossible for him to keep up that level of participation on both sides of the ball.
While the defense got a key stop when it needed one late in the fourth quarter, it wore down immensely in the second half on a sweltering day in Texas. TCU averaged almost 60 yards per drive in the second and scored four touchdowns on the Buffaloes.
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