Initial observations from the CU Buffs’ 45-42 win over the TCU Horned Frogs in head coach Deion Sanders’ debut in Fort Worth, Texas.
Prime Effect: It’s a topic that’s been beaten to death all offseason, but if you were living under rock for the last nine months and turned on the Big Noon Kickoff on Saturday morning, it was immediately clear what Coach Prime has done off the field for Colorado. Here we are on the first full weekend of college football, and the topic dominating one of its most-watched game day shows is the CU Buffs. Then, after the play actually starts, there’s Deion Sanders standing next to Nick Saban to start the first commercial break … with Ralphie making a late cameo!?!?! Strange days, indeed. And, boy, do they look good for the Buffs.
Iron man: Somehow, Travis Hunter is even better than advertised. Just five snaps into CU’s first offensive series, the five-star recruit had his first catch (a first down) and was targeted on a deep ball (he had a step). And that’s not even the side of the ball he’s supposed to play on Sundays. Yes, there was a dropped TD pass off a dime from Shedeur Sanders, but he also nearly hauled in a jump ball TD while being interfered with and passed test after test with TCU targeting him one-on-one. After two quarters, he’d played 65 snaps and caught seven balls. Midway through the third he’d played more than 80 and made the most spectacular diving interception you’ll ever see. Goodness. Get this man some fluids. And a spot on the Heisman Trophy ballot.
Well-oiled machine: Which one of these teams completely overhauled its roster? From the way CU and TCU operated in the first half, it certainly didn’t look like the Buffs. It wasn’t until midway through the second quarter that CU was flagged for a penalty (the Buffs had two at halftime). The one mental miscue? A botched field goal attempt that was blocked. Other than that, the play-calling was crisp, game management clean and QB Shedeur Sanders surgical. In fact, it was TCU that was the one getting caught with too many men on the field in the first quarter (one of seven first-half flags). It might be a circus off the field for the Buffs. But it sure looked like a well-oiled machine on it — well, until that costly personal foul in the third quarter. That can’t happen.
What a debut: The hype is real, friends. One. Hundred. Percent. Real. Coach Prime told us the Buffs were coming. And, man, are they coming. Shedeur Sanders (510 yards passing) throws deep balls better than Russell Wilson. Dylan Edwards (159 total yards) is a real deal home run threat. Jimmy Horn Jr. is just one of several playmaking on the perimeter (three receivers with 100-plus yards receiving!). This team has an offensive identity. A real identity. At the start of the season, the question was whether or not the Buffs could win six games and be bowl eligible. Now? It’s fair to wonder if they can do a whole lot more. They just knocked off a program that’s months removed from playing for a national title. In their house. Nebraska is seven days away. This is going to be fun.
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