Deion Sanders, Colorado shock TCU in stunning debut win

FORT WORTH, Texas – This was finally the big moment of truth for new Colorado football coach Deion Sanders. Right here in the 100-degree heat of Texas after nine months of hype.

And he told you so.

He told everybody.

“Do you believe now?” Sanders asked reporters after his team beat No. 16 TCU Saturday 45-42. “Huh?”

It’s impossible not to after what happened here Saturday in front of a national television audience and a record crowd of 53,294 at Amon G. Carter Stadium. It was Sanders’ first game as Colorado’s coach after he brought in 68 scholarship newcomers to replace most of last year’s team, which finished 1-11. The Buffaloes also were 20½-point underdogs against a team that played in the national title game last season.

“A lot of y’all didn’t believe in us,” said Shedeur Sanders, Deion’s son and Colorado’s quarterback. “Everybody asking me questions right now, which − it’s crazy because you just got to understand our coach, Coach Prime, my dad. Everywhere he went, he was a winner.”

How did he win this time?

∎ Shedeur Sanders, a transfer from Jackson State, set a school record with 510 yards passing in his first game for Colorado.

∎ Four players for Colorado had at least 100 yards receiving, a school record. Three were transfer players. The other was a freshman, Dylan Edwards, who caught three touchdowns and ran for another.

∎ One of those transfer players, Travis Hunter played nearly 120 snaps as he switched between offense and defense as a receiver and cornerback. He caught 11 balls for 119 yards and had an interception near the goal line to save a possible touchdown in the third quarter.

∎ Then, after a back-and-forth second half, Colorado’s defense held TCU off on fourth-and-9 at the Colorado 43-yard line with 55 seconds left. The Buffs ran out the clock after that, instantly turning the college football world on its head as it pondered what to make of what just happened.

Deion Sanders heard the doubters and called them out

Wait, weren’t the Buffs one of the worst teams in the nation last season?

Didn’t Sanders overhaul the entire roster after being hired in December and retain only nine scholarship players from last year’s team?

Wasn’t his drastic rebuilding job with transfer players sort of like a big experiment that had never been tried before to this degree?

Yes, all that’s true. And Sanders, a Pro Football Hall of Famer, said he’s keeping “receipts” of those who doubted him and criticized his methods after he predicted success from the start. He proudly displayed a joyful chip on his shoulder afterward.

“We do things that had never been done, and that makes people uncomfortable,” coach Sanders said. “When you see a confident Black man, sitting up there talking his talk, walking his walk, coaching 75% African-Americans in the locker room, that’s kind of threatening (to others). Oh, they don’t like that. Guess what? We gonna consistently do what we do, because I’m here and ain’t going nowhere. And I’m about to get comfortable in a minute.”

Sanders also pointed out where his son Shedeur came from: Jackson State, a historically black college (HBCU) that competes at a lower subdivision in college football. He coached his son there in 2021 and 2022 and compiled a 23-3 record with him as quarterback.

When asked about his son’s record day, he replied by acting like nobody believed it could happen but him.

“For real?” he asked. “Shedeur Sanders? From an HBCU? The one that played at Jackson last year? The one you asked me why would I give him the starting job?”

At one point after the game, Deion Sanders even suggested the news media was expecting him to lose the game so they could ask doubtful questions about him.

“Now what?” he said. “Now what? Everybody quiet now? Now what?”

What is next?

Colorado (1-0) plays at home against Nebraska next Saturday in another national telecast on Fox.

The hype will escalate. And Nebraska (0-1) doesn’t look to be as good as TCU, which finished last year ranked No. 2 in the country.  

After that, the Buffs play at home against Colorado State. Could they start 3-0?

His team doesn’t doubt it.

“I knew we was going to do this,” Shedeur Sanders said to reporters. “The scoreboard just tell y’all that.”

Hunter said afterward that playing offense and defense is “fun” even though it’s “hard on your body.”

After recovering, he expects things to get better for Colorado, a program that has had only two winning seasons in the past 17 years.

“We kept receipts,” Hunter said. “Nobody believed in us.”

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Follow reporter Brent Schrotenboer @Schrotenboer. E-mail: [email protected]

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