With Week 1 of the college football season behind us, we finally got a glimpse of the future of the Colorado football program. The Buffs’ 45-42 win over the TCU showed many CU fans that their newfound hope in the Coach Prime era was justified. The numbers from last week’s game can also teach us about what we can expect from this team, in both good and bad ways.
The Colorado offense did a tremendous job on the road against a ranked team. Not only did the unit look really organized and talented, but the stats also back that up. The Buffs absolutely killed it in the passing game against the Frogs. For the first time in school history, the Buffs had four receivers who ended with games with 100+ yards. Last year, they would have been extremely lucky to have one receiver over 100 receiving yards.
From the statistics alone, it looks like this Colorado wide receiver core is legit and needs to be taken seriously. Jimmy Horn Jr. proved himself to be a big threat in the short game and off the screen, and Xavier Weaver showed himself to be a threat downfield in the long game. Travis Hunter was as versatile of a receiver as expected, and showed he can excel at the position regardless of his role. The numbers suggest that this unit will be a big problem for opposing secondaries going forward, which is a massive takeaway from week one.
The Buffs’ run game doesn’t echo the same sentiment however. Colorado running backs struggled to get anything going all game, which isn’t a great sign. CU only managed to pick up 55 yards on the ground, which is far less than what was expected from them. The unit was reliable in both third and short situations and at the goal line, which is something positive to take away from week one at least. The Buffs are going to need a more balanced offense to be considered as real contenders in the Pac-12 during the remainder of the season.
Quarterback Shedeur Sanders looked awesome throughout the entire game against TCU, and the number unsurprisingly suggests that same thing. Passing for a school record 510 yards and four touchdowns with a 200 quarterback rating is no easy feat, but Sanders made it look like a cakewalk. Sanders did so well last week that many now have him pegged as a no brainer NFL first round draft pick. Enjoy Shedeur while you can Buffs fans, as we’re gonna be hearing a bunch of speciation about him leaving for the draft as we get further and further into this season.
On the defensive side of the ball, the numbers don’t mirror the potential of the offense. The Colorado defense has some serious work to do to resolve some problems, especially in the run game. CU’s run prevention didn’t look so hot in Fort Worth last Saturday. TCU was breaking off long runs fairly consistently all game, which was less than ideal. The Buffs allowed TCU to pick up 262 yards and four touchdowns on the ground. Along with middling run prevention, the Buffs couldn’t get to the quarterback all game. The unit couldn’t manage to get a sack, which is going to need to change if the Buffs want to retain their spot in the AP Poll.
The Colorado secondary was a bright spot for the defensive, as they did really well against the Frogs. The statistics don’t necessarily jump off the paper at first glance, but they got every clutch stop they needed to. The Buffs had two red zone interceptions, including an absolutely ludacris pick at the goal line by Travis Hunter. The unit looked serviceable at worst, and full of potential at best. This unit might fully come into its own given some time, and we will have to see if they can reach their potential later in the season.
The Buffs special teams unit got absolutely crushed during week one, no way to sugarcoat it. This unit is a massive liability, and could be this team’s biggest downfall. The Buffs gave up an extremely concerning 150 yards off kick returns alone. You can’t be giving up triple digit yards on special teams if you want to be taken seriously as a top 25 team. If the Buffs can’t manage to fix up their current special team woes, every single kickoff and punt could turn into a nailbiter.
Overall, the stats from week one suggest some really great things to be optimistic about going forward and some massive holes that this team needs to tend to ASAP. TLDR; the offense was awesome, the defense and special teams were not so awesome… The good news is that the coaching staff saw the exact same things that we did, and can help resolve some of the glaring problems which arose during last week’s game. If the Buffs can figure it out of defense, this week’s game against Nebraska is going to be a fun one.