Shedeur Sanders threw a TD pass to Michael Harrison in double overtime after leading the drive to tie the game with 36 seconds remaining in the fourth quarter and Colorado rallied to beat Colorado State 43-35 early on Sunday morning in front of a full house packed with famous names.
Colorado State coach Jay Norvell added spice to the Rocky Mountain Showdown earlier in the week by taking a jab at his opposite number, Deion Sanders, for not taking off his sunglasses and hat in interviews. After the game, Sanders and Norvell shook hands near midfield amid a sea of fans.
“This rivalry has been going on way longer and before I got here,” said Norvell. “It’s going to be going on way after I leave.”
As for their squabble, it’s water under the bridge to Sanders, the NFL hall of famer who has brought huge amounts of publicity to Colorado since taking over as head coach this year.
“I’m happy for the brother. I really am,” Sanders said. “I’m happy that they fought, that they played a good game. I’m happy he’s the head coach. I’m happy for any brother that’s doing it and is successful, man. I truly am. I don’t know where all this stuff comes from. I had to respond because – my mama taught me that.”
However, Sanders admitted Norvell’s comments had fueled his desire to beat Colorado State.
“Truthfully, there’s one point in the game. I said we can’t let this dude win,” Sanders said. “There ain’t no way we let this dude win. This press conference is going to be unbearable if we let this dude win.”
Sanders and the Buffaloes fed off the perceived slight all the way into the game. Sanders’s son, Shilo, donned sunglasses after his 80-yard interception return for a touchdown in the first quarter as his proud father raced down the sideline.
Another of Sanders’s sons, Shedeur, is Colorado’s starting quarterback. He connected with Harrison for an 18-yard score and then found an open Xavier Weaver on the two-point conversion. The Colorado defense took it from there, with Trevor Woods intercepting Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi’s pass on fourth-and-23 to end the game at nearly 12.30am local time.
It set off a celebration as fans rushed the field for a second straight week. It was the biggest fourth-quarter comeback for Colorado since 2005.
“We showed that we have no surrender or give-up in us,” Deion Sanders said. “They never doubted themselves.”
In the first OT, Shedeur Sanders patiently waited in the pocket until Harrison flashed open for a three-yard score. Fowler-Nicolosi followed by connecting with Tory Horton on an eight-yard score.
That came after a dramatic end to regulation. With 2:06 remaining in the fourth quarter, Shedeur Sanders and the Buffaloes (3-0) got the ball back on the two-yard line, trailing 28-20. He led a seven-play drive that culminated with a 45-yard TD pass to Jimmy Horn Jr with 36 seconds left. Sanders hit Harrison for the two-point conversion.
“Well, we do it in practice all the time, so it’s not really a surprise to us,” Shedeur Sanders said of the 98-yard drive. “We like these high-pressure moments”
His father never doubted him.
“This is who he is,” Deion Sanders said.
Colorado State were huge underdogs but led for a large chunk of the game. Their unraveling was 17 penalties for 182 yards, including a flag for a block below the waist that nullified a touchdown in the second overtime.
Shedeur Sanders finished with 348 yards, four TDs and one interception for the Buffaloes, who won their sixth straight over the Rams (0-2). Colorado were missing receiver/cornerback Travis Hunter, who was ruled out in the third quarter with an undisclosed injury and taken to the hospital for further evaluation. He could be out a few weeks.
Deion Sanders has turned the Buffaloes into the talk of college football since taking over a team that went 1-11 last season.
This weekend, both ESPN’s College GameDay and Fox’s Big Noon Kickoff were on campus. Some of the biggest names in sports and entertainment turned up in Boulder, including Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson appearing on the set of GameDay and taking off his jacket to reveal a Shedeur Sanders No 2 jersey. The Buffaloes took the field to a mini-concert performed by Lil Wayne in the end zone just before kickoff.
“They’ve got Lil Wayne over here, Coach Prime doing his thing. They’ve got a whole animal running around,” Shilo Sanders said of the pregame festivities that also included the live buffalo mascot Ralphie running the field. “I would’ve been so scared if I was the other team.”