FORT WORTH, Texas — It’s not often the most highly anticipated matchup of college football’s opening weekend lives up to expectations.
And Colorado pulling off an upset-of-the-year type of performance with a 45-42 win over last TCU — at Amon G. Carter Stadium, no less — likely exceeded them.
Probably the only group of people in the country who believed the Buffaloes could come down to Texas and knock off the 2022 national championship runners-up Horned Frogs were Deion Sanders and his 86 new players. TCU was a 20.5-point favorite and most pundits figured that to be an accurate prediction.
But Coach Prime went into this season to win games and on Saturday, that’s what his team did. Is this the start of something big in Colorado?
Here are quick takeaways from Saturday’s game:
Play of the Game/turning point
This was originally going to be two separate categories, but given how wild the finish was, we turned them into one.
After going back and forth all day in the very hot 95-degree Texas sun, Colorado faced fourth-and-2 from the TCU 46-yard line while down 42-38. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders, Deion’s son who had been stellar and poised all game, found Dylan Edwards for a 46-yard touchdown and the 45-42 lead.
For all the accolades that Travis Hunter will get after this game for playing both offense and defense, Edwards was a stud on his own. The 5-foot-9 running back had a total of 11 touches for 159 yards and four touchdowns, including the 75-yard ball he took to the house on the second play of the second half.
Meanwhile, in his Colorado debut, Sanders completed 38 of 47 passes for 510 yards and four touchdowns.
Not too shabby for an offense that had never played a game together until Saturday.
Player of the game
No debate here: Travis Hunter was the player of this game. He literally did everything on offense and defense.
While there has been wide skepticism about Sanders and Colorado all off-season — what with bringing in 86 new players and all — what was never in question was Hunter’s world-class talent. The former No. 1 overall recruit had a highlight reel of a game, playing both wide receiver and cornerback.
He made 11 catches for 119 yards as a receiver.
He had an interception and three tackles on defense.
The man was literally everywhere and played nearly the entire game.
When Sanders was asked at halftime how he’d keep his two-way star fresh after the break, he said, “We missed him on two deep balls. He gets those two deep balls, the Heisman is in his crib chilling right now.”
Should we be surprised by Hunter? Probably not, given that as a freshman at Jackson State last year, he had 20 tackles, 10 passes broken up, two interceptions and a fumble recovery plus 18 catches for 188 yards and four touchdowns.
And it’s only up from here.
For all the attention Hunter received for this game — deservedly so — Shedeur Sanders really spread the ball around. Colorado had FOUR 100-plus yard receivers in this game, with Travis Hunter (119), Jimmy Horn Jr. (117), Xavier Weaver (118) and Dylan Edwards (135) combining for an impressive 489 yards.
What’s next for Colorado?
Losing was never going to be part of Coach Prime’s plan, but things don’t get easier for 1-0 Colorado moving forward. The Buffs host Nebraska next week in their home opener, but have a challenging schedule ahead and will face Oregon (on the road) and USC (at home) before the end of September.
What’s next for TCU?
After the national championship game just a mere eight months ago, Dykes said it would take a while for the sting of a 65-7 loss to Georgia to go away. In the spring, he told FOX Sports that he “can’t wait until the first week in September and prove that’s not who we are.”
While a season-opening loss was the last thing he wanted, there’s still an entire season ahead. TCU hosts Nicholls State in Week 2, before its first Big 12 game against conference newbie Houston. The Frogs’ schedule is back loaded, with a conference championship rematch on the road against No. 16 Kansas State on Oct. 21 and games against Texas Tech, Texas, Baylor and Oklahoma in the month of November.
Laken Litman covers college football, college basketball and soccer for FOX Sports. She previously wrote for Sports Illustrated, USA Today and The Indianapolis Star. She is the author of “Strong Like a Woman,” published in spring 2022 to mark the 50th anniversary of Title IX. Follow her on Twitter @LakenLitman.
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