Story by Neill Woelk, Contributing Editor for

FORT WORTH, Texas — Colorado Athletic Director Rick George may have said it best.

“A great day for Colorado Buffs football,” George told Voice of the Buffs Mark Johnson after CU’s stunning 45-42 win at No. 17 TCU on Saturday. “The nation got to see how great Colorado is, and we’re just going to build on this.”

Indeed, the nation saw what the Buffs are capable of doing — and a majority might still be having a hard time believing what they saw.

After all, national pundits spent the week wondering just how good Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders’ Buffs might be after Sanders rebuilt the CU roster from the bottom up. The general consensus was “improved” but probably not good enough to hang with No. 17 TCU.

So much for general consensus. Coach Prime’s Buffs — who entered the game as massive 20-point underdogs — sent a message that resounded through the college football world.

Next question?

There will certainly be no questions about coordinator Sean Lewis‘ offense, which slapped 565 total yards on the Frogs. Quarterback Shedeur Sanders threw for a school record 510 yards and four touchdowns, freshman running back Dylan Edwards scored four times and four different Buffs surpassed the 100-yard mark in receiving (another school record).

TCU had no answer for Colorado’s up-tempo attack. Sanders was incredibly accurate (38-for-47 with no interceptions) while coming up big in crucial situations — one touchdown pass on third down, another on fourth down and a make-or-break 43-yard completion to Travis Hunter on third-and-16 to keep a late scoring drive alive.

If there were any questions about Sanders’ ability to make the jump from HBCU competition to Power Five ball, he delivered a decisive answer.

Speaking of Hunter, it won’t be a surprise to see his name pop up in the Heisman Trophy conversation (along with Sanders).

Colorado’s two-way star had the type of game that will have national media salivating. Hunter finished with 11 catches for 119 yards, and also added a touchdown-saving tackle on a long TCU run and an interception at the goal line that halted what looked to be a sure-fire Horned Frogs scoring drive.

CU safety Trevor Woods also had an interception, killing a TCU drive with a pick in the end zone, and the defense finally put the win away by stopping the Frogs on downs on their final possession.

Quite simply, the Buffs had a host of players making plays when absolutely necessary.

(Here is where we will kindly refrain from naming the ESPN “expert” who proclaimed that the Buffs might have the worst roster in college football. Everybody has a bad day, right?)

One person who wasn’t surprised? CU’s Coach Prime, who had been telling anyone who would listen that the Buffs planned on being competitive immediately. “Rebuilding” is not in his vocabulary.

Thus, it really wasn’t a surprise when he told a national TV audience immediately after the game that he had been “keeping receipts” from those who were predicting tough times for Colorado.

“We’re going to continuously be questioned because we do things that have never been done,” Sanders told the media. “We do things that have never been done and that makes people uncomfortable. 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. But guess what, we are going to consistently do what we do. I’m here and ain’t going nowhere. And I’m about to get comfortable in a minute.”

Truth be told, there may have even been some players in the CU locker room who harbored some small doubts. After all, could all the experts be wrong?

Short answer — yes.

“These young men in there right now, they believe,” Sanders said. “Not all of them believed before.  (But) They came up one by one, two by twos, and said, ‘Coach, we believe now.’ Now Boulder believes. People in the front office, people in the building, the fans, the students. Now everybody wants to believe and  I’m good with that. We got room.”

One man who has believed from the beginning is the man who brought Sanders to Boulder.

“He had a plan,” George said. “He knew what he was doing and he executed that plan.”

Not that the Buffs were perfect Saturday. Mistakes were made and as the final seconds ticked off the clock Saturday, Coach Prime was priorizing what had to be addressed before next week’s home opener against Nebraska.

“I’m thinking okay, we gotta fix this, fix that, because we have to be much more dominant next week in all phases, not just one phase,” Coach Prime said. “Offensively, defensively, special teams …  Defense we got to fix some things. Special teams were horrendous.”

But it’s hard to argue with the final result. A team the experts said had little chance of winning turned the college football world on its ear — and now that world is paying very, very close attention.

BUFFS BITS: Colorado is now 8-1 in its last nine season openers, with Saturday’s victory the first season opening win on the road since a 45-7 win over Wisconsin in 1995 (Rick Neuheisel’s head coaching debut) … It’s the highest-ranked team CU has defeated since beating No. 17 Kansas 34-30 in 2009 … It was the first time CU has had four players with 100-plus receiving yards (previous best was two) …

Sanders’ four TDs passing were the most in a CU starting debut since Joel Klatt also had four against CSU in 2003 … Hunter became the first FBS player in 20 years with 100 yards receiving and an interception in the same game … Edwards became the first CU  true freshman to score four touchdowns in a game since Michael Adkins II did it in 2013.


Content courtesy of the University of Colorado at Boulder.