Colorado Buffaloes football is officially back on the map. CU went into Fort Worth today to open their season against a tough TCU Horned Frogs team, and seized the opportunity to show us what this brand new team put together by Coach Prime is all about. The 21 point underdog Buffs put on an absolute show, and bested the Frogs by a score of 45-42.
The Colorado offensive was phenomenal all game. New offensive coordinator Sean Lewis did a great job calling plays. We now know how CU’s offensive will function, and it’ll live or die by the pass. Lewis employed a good balance of taking easy dink-and-dunk yards from short passes and airing the ball out for big yards downfield. CU’s rushing attack wasn’t utilized as much as expected, but it still proved to be effective. The Buffs had two rushing touchdowns today.
In this new pass heavy offense, new Buffs quarterback Shedeur Sanders shined. The junior transfer from Jackson State and son of head coach Deion Sanders showcased that he is the real deal. Sanders set a school record for passing yards, with a whopping 510 yards via the air. Sanders finished the game with an impressive 38 completions on 47 attempts, four passing touchdowns, and no interceptions. Sanders was considered one of the frontrunners for the Heisman Trophy before the season, and proved that prediction to be realistic. The new Buffs quarterback displayed his combination of impressive intelligence in reading coverages and sheer arm talent, which has cemented him as likely the best QB that CU has had since Kordell Stewart.
True freshman running back Dylan Edwards led the Buffs in scoring, with four touchdowns. Three of Edwards touchdowns came through the air, and one on the ground. Coach Prime has often talked about how good Edwards is during camp, and Edwards just showed the world his talent in his College Football debut.
Other offensive contributors worth note include wide receivers Jimmy Horn Jr. and Xavier Weaver. Horn finished today’s game with 117 yards off six receptions and a touchdown, followed closely by Weaver with 118 yards off eleven receptions. These two new receivers proved to be a massive help to the Colorado offensive, and will be a big problem for opposing secondaries.
CU’s offensive line also did a great job against TCU. Before the season, many had doubts about the unit and predicted that they may be one of the weak points for the Buffs. Today, the big men proved that all wrong. They dominated the Frogs’ pass rush all game. Sanders had plenty of time in the pocket to analyze and make decisions downfield thanks to the offensive line. Freshman Bishop Thomas was especially dominant, as he laid out a massive block which led to a Buffs rushing touchdown.
What may have been the game’s biggest highlight was Travis Hunter’s performance. The former five-star recruit and Jackson State transfer had an amazing first game as a Buff on both sides of the ball. On the offensive side of the ball, Hunter had 11 receptions for a total of 119 yards. Hunter would lead the Colorado offense in yards gained, making him one of the biggest contributors on the offensive side of the ball. That also doesn’t even take into account that Hunter likely should have had at least one touchdown pass, but a defensive pass interference took that opportunity away from him.
On the defensive side of the ball, Hunter was arguably even more dominant than on offense. Hunter was flying all over the field breaking up passes, and had a beautiful diving interception at the Colorado three yard line to save a touchdown. The cornerback prevented two TCU touchdowns, which proved to save the game for the Buffs. Hunter played well over 110 snaps against TCU. This has earned Hunter major Heisman hype, which is well deserved. Being this good on both sides of the ball is extremely unheard of, and the Buffs are lucky to have him on their sideline.
The Colorado secondary was considered to be one of the team’s biggest strengths going into the season, and the unit proved that assumption to be right. CU’s pass defense held a very talented TCU passing attack to only 238 yards and two touchdowns today, and had two red zone picks on top of that. Safeties Shilo Sanders and Trevor Woods both had fantastic games, as they were among team leaders in tackles. The combination of Hunter and Omarion Cooper at corner, along with Woods and Sanders at safety could prove to be lethal going forward into the season.
If the Buffs could improve on anything after today’s game, it would definitely be their pass rush and run prevention. The defensive line struggled getting to the TCU quarterback Chandler Morris, as he had too much time in the pocket all game. Colorado didn’t manage to get a single sack all day, which is concerning. CU also let the Horned Frogs run all over them. TCU had 260 yards on the ground and four rushing touchdown passes. Defensive coordinator Charles Kelly did a very good job, but the Buffs would have routed the Frogs if the run prevention would have been tighter.
Colorado Football has come a really long way. Last season, the Buffs only averaged 15 points per game. Against the seventeenth best team in the country, they put up 45 points. This means that CU will certainly be getting AP Top 25 votes, and may even be ranked going into next week’s game against a familiar opponent. The Nebraska Cornhuskers come to Folsom field next Saturday on September 9. If the Buffs play anything like they did today, next week is going to be really fun. Enjoy this one Buffs fans, this is your reward for enduring last season’s monstrosity.