The lively celebration in honor of college football’s newest renaissance figure commenced during the pre-dawn hours of a Saturday morning as eager tailgaters descended upon the Colorado campus.
They fired up their grills and poured their libations well before the sun graced the eastern horizon of Folsom Field. Why such early fervor, you ask? Because Deion Sanders, affectionately known as Coach Prime, had successfully converted a previously disheartened fan base into fervent believers.
Over 53,000 enthusiasts thronged into the stadium, forming the largest crowd witnessed in this venue over the past 15 years, and their jubilation knew no bounds.
What began as a tightly contested first half evolved into a second-half spectacle, showcasing the impressive transformation Sanders was orchestrating. Colorado surged ahead, scoring 24 unanswered points in a convincing 36-14 victory over archrivals Nebraska.
This remarkable feat defied preseason predictions, which had pegged Colorado to win no more than four games. Now, with two wins in the bag, the Buffaloes left everyone wondering just how far they could go.
Trailing by 13 points at the start of the second half, Nebraska’s quarterback, Jeff Sims, injected some life into the visiting fans with a spectacular 57-yard touchdown run, executed perfectly along the right sideline. It marked the longest gain for the Cornhuskers throughout the game.
Yet, in Colorado’s only moment of unease during an otherwise controlled performance, Sanders coolly orchestrated a 10-play, 75-yard drive in just over three minutes, quelling Nebraska’s momentum.
When the Cornhuskers went all-out on a blitz during a critical third-and-10 situation, Sanders found wide receiver Xavier Weaver for a pivotal 41-yard gain along the right sideline.
Subsequently, on another third-and-10 play a few snaps later, Sanders displayed poise as he maneuvered to his left, and with his receivers weaving through the end zone, he unleashed a precise 12-yard touchdown pass to Weaver for his second passing score of the game.
This drive served as the spark that ignited Colorado’s dominance, reminiscent of their previous week’s victory over Texas Christian.
Player of the Game
For the second consecutive week, Sanders asserted himself as the most electrifying player on the field. Despite a modest first-half performance where he completed 14 of 21 passes for 134 yards and a touchdown, Sanders delivered a breathtaking second half.
He elevated his completion percentage to 73.8% on 42 attempts, systematically dismantling an overmatched Cornhuskers’ secondary. Sanders connected on 11 consecutive throws spanning the second and third quarters, displaying a masterful blend of accuracy in deep passes, pocket composure, and the ability to create opportunities with his legs.
What was truly remarkable was how Sanders never lost his composure, even when faced with a relentless Nebraska defense that sacked him eight times.
He adeptly evaded defenders penetrating the Colorado backfield, searching for ideal passing lanes. To cap off his stellar performance, he powered through contact near the goal line for a 6-yard touchdown run, marking his first rushing score of the season.
After just two games, Sanders had firmly established himself as an early frontrunner for the Heisman Trophy.
A week after throwing three interceptions in a season-opening loss to Minnesota, including the one that set up the Gophers’ game-winning field goal, Sims suffered another interception against Colorado. Additionally, he was involved in at least two fumbles.
Sims squandered a promising opening drive that had gained 42 yards over seven plays when he mishandled a snap at the Colorado 31-yard line, failing to make the recovery as the ball skittered around by his feet.
Colorado’s defensive end, Arden Walker, made a sensational one-handed snag, robbing the Cornhuskers of a potential field goal opportunity.
His costliest mistake came with just 2:43 remaining in the second quarter, with Nebraska trailing by a field goal. On a third-and-12 deep in his own territory, Sims rolled to his right and forced a throw into tight coverage along the sideline.
The pass was intercepted by safety Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig, giving Colorado possession in prime territory. On the very next play, Sanders connected with wide receiver Tar’Varish Dawson Jr. for a 30-yard touchdown, extending the lead to double digits. The Buffaloes scored 13 points in just 4 minutes and 20 seconds to close out the first half.
Sims was also implicated in three more ball security mishaps that hampered the Cornhuskers: a pair of fumbled snaps on jet sweep plays and a mishandled exchange with tailback Gabe Ervin Jr. that resulted in a fumble recovery for Colorado in the fourth quarter.
What’s Next for Nebraska?
Beginning the season with a Big Ten road game was always a challenging proposition for Coach Rhule, especially given the extensive overhaul of the Nebraska program.
After a narrow 13-10 loss to Minnesota, facing another road game against a Power 5 opponent made for one of the toughest opening stretches in the country.
The next two weeks should offer some respite, as Nebraska hosts Northern Illinois on September 16 and Louisiana Tech on September 23 in their final non-conference games of the season. In theory, the Cornhuskers should bounce back to a .500 record before a pivotal home showdown with No. 2 Michigan on September 30.
What’s Next for Colorado?
After kicking off the Coach Prime era with back-to-back wins against Power 5 opponents, the Buffaloes welcome Colorado State to Folsom Field on September 16, with oddsmakers expecting them to secure a third consecutive victory.
This is a remarkable achievement considering the low external expectations surrounding Sanders’ rebuilding project. However, looming on the horizon are two monumental matchups against No. 13 Oregon on September 23 (away) and No. 6 USC on September 30 (at home).
Colorado cannot afford to underestimate their upcoming opponents, particularly the Colorado State Rams, in the meantime.
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