The first Saturday of the college football season kicked off today, delivering a cluster of exciting matchups early on. But perhaps none were more compelling than Deion Sanders making his head coaching debut with the Colorado Buffaloes, led by stars Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter. On the other sideline sat Sonny Dykes’ TCU Horned Frogs, playing in their first game without Max Duggan, Quentin Johnston, and others who have since graduated to the NFL.
Both teams had an idea of the challenges ahead. TCU came into the day ranked 17th but, as mentioned, had a largely unproven group as they look to new on-field leadership in 2023. Meanwhile, the Buffaloes already entered the day as the team to watch thanks to Sanders’ headline-grabbing offseason, bringing several talented transfer players to a program that won just one game a season ago.
Yet, once the whistle blew and the game kicked off, all the pre-game hype went out the window, with the players now letting their performance do the talking. Even though they were making the leap from the FCS level of play to the FBS, both Shedeur Sanders (Deion’s son) and Travis Hunter showed exactly why they’re on track to become superstars, not only at Colorado but also possibly someday in the NFL in a 45-42 win over TCU.
Shedeur Sanders puts himself in Heisman conversation with explosive debut
Who made a bigger impact in their Colorado debut? Between Shedeur Sanders and Travis Hunter, you could make a case for either player. Sanders, in particular, set several records, putting on an absolute show from the quarterback position.
The Buffaloes had just two players with 100 or more receiving yards in a single game last season. Well, today, Sanders helped four different players rack up 100 or more receiving yards on the day. In other words, these are not the same Buffaloes fans have seen in recent times.
It helped that Sanders made smart decisions all afternoon, progressing through his reads to find the open man delivering the ball with pinpoint accuracy. It led to a record-breaking performance for Sanders.
- Shedeur Sanders’ stat line in Colorado Buffaloes’ debut: 38-of-47 passes, 510 yards, 4 TD
Sanders set a new Colorado school record, passing for a ridiculous 510 yards in a near-perfect game without committing any turnovers. Most importantly, he helped the Buffaloes start their season with a win, which already matches their total of victories a season ago, even if nearly none of the same players have returned.
Not bad for a team that entered the game as 20.5-point underdogs. Needless to say, their expectations will be a bit higher heading into next week’s matchup against Matt Rhule’s Nebraska Cornhuskers, who are 0-1 after a loss to Minnesota.
Travis Hunter leaves football community in awe
As incredible and nearly flawless as Sanders was at QB, he also got some help, offensively and defensively from two-way athlete Travis Hunter. The former No. 1 recruit in the nation plays both sides of the ball, and as fans got to witness on Saturday, he’s just as good as a wide receiver as he is as a cornerback. It’s a very rare feat in college football today, as most athletes either have to pick and stick with one position, either due to ability, stamina, or durability. But not Hunter.
Hunter played over 110 snaps in total, putting up a strong stat line on offense and defense.
- Travis Hunter’s stats in Colorado debut: 11 catches, 119 yards – Three tackles, one pass deflection, one interception
It doesn’t get any more acrobatic than Hunter’s effort on his clutch interception coming in the red zone with just over six minutes to play in the third quarter.
It helped flip the script, taking potential points off the board while putting the Buffaloes in position to extend their lead. Hunter wasn’t perfect. There were a few dropped passes, but Coach Prime wasn’t hesitant to say “He is HIM” at halftime in Saturday’s win. Based on Hunter’s first game at Colorado, we’re inclined to agree. This dude’s legit, and so are the Buffaloes.