In a lifetime of football, mostly at the highest level, Deion Sanders has seen just about everything.
Friday was new for Colorado’s first-year head coach, but all too familiar for the program he’s trying to revive.
Shedeur Sanders had a monster night, Travis Hunter returned, and the CU Buffs finally got the fast start they’ve been looking for. But in the end, fans of the new look stirred up memories of a past they had tried so hard to forget.
Stanford rallied from four touchdowns down to beat Colorado 46-43 in double overtime before a sold-out Folsom Stadium crowd.
After a Shedeur Sanders interception to start the second overtime, Joshua Karty fired a 31-yard field goal for the Cardinal to complete the largest comeback in Stanford history and The biggest collapse in the history of the University of Colorado.
“I’ve never been to one of those games,” Coach Prime said. “Ever since I was young, I can’t remember losing a football game with a 29-0 lead. I really don’t know. It’s kind of hard for me.”
It’s tough for Sanders, and brutal for CU fans who have seen this happen before.
In 2010, the Hornets led 45-17 against Kansas before losing 52-45. In 2018, they led 31-3 against Oregon State but lost 41-34 in overtime. Both games cost CU a chance at a bowl game and resulted in the head coach losing his job.
Sanders is only seven games into his tenure at Colorado, and he certainly won’t lose his job because of this game. However, he may have lost his mind with his team’s performance in what was a dominant early game.
CU (4-3, 1-3 Pac-12) has struggled early in most games this season, but turned things around Friday night. Shaddell Sanders finished with 400 yards passing and five touchdowns, leading the Bulls to a 29-0 lead in the opening 27 minutes. Hunter returned from missing three games due to injury and caught 13 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns.
“The game started off great,” head coach Saunders said. “Ultimately, we went into the first half exactly as I had hoped, as we had hoped, as our players and our fans had hoped.”
The Hornets were on the verge of extending their lead late in the half after a Stanford punt. Colorado took over at the Stanford 39-yard line with 2:02 left in the first half – plenty of time for another touchdown.
Instead, they suffered back-to-back penalties, culminating in Alejandro Mata’s 46-yard field goal attempt, which he missed.
Although CU performed well in the first 27 minutes, the final three minutes of the half caused concern for head coach Saunders.
“I just didn’t like the feeling at halftime,” he said. “We came back and with that came complacency. This team came and I couldn’t stand it, you couldn’t stand it, you couldn’t understand how this could happen to us, but it did.”
CU’s offense was largely unstoppable in the first half but couldn’t get anywhere in the second half. Stanford’s offense was horrific before halftime, but downright explosive after the break.
Stanford scored zero points on six possessions in the first half, then scored on all eight possessions after halftime (six touchdowns, two field goals).
“I’m still trying to figure it out,” Coach Sanders said.
Stanford quarterback Ashton Daniels finished the game with 396 yards and four touchdowns through the air. He threw for just 32 yards in the first half and threw for 364 yards and all four touchdowns in the second half.
Daniels’ favorite target was Elic Ayomanor, who had 13 catches for an impressive 294 yards — the most ever by a CU opponent — and Had 3 touchdowns. He didn’t catch a pass in the first half.
“We’re seeing Eric Ayomano really discover that he can be a great player at this level,” Stanford head coach Troy Taylor said. “We’ve always known that. But it’s the most important thing personally, so he’s outstanding.”
However, as poor as the defense was, the offense’s sudden troubles after halftime were puzzling. After gaining 324 yards in the first half, the Hornets gained 208 yards in the second half.
“It’s definitely frustrating because, like I said, we’re one or two players away from really having an explosive game, from doing the right thing every time we drive,” Shaddell Sanders said. “When we watched the film, I noticed on the court that all 11 players have to do their job and that’s it. These things catch up when they catch up, and it caught up with us today.”
Whether this loss will cost the Hornets a chance to play in a bowl game remains to be seen, but it certainly wasn’t on Scheider’s mind Friday night.
“I haven’t thought that far ahead,” he said. “I have to at least feel this first.”
There’s no doubt the Buffs will feel this, but Coach Prime said they have to find a way to overcome it as soon as possible.
“You have no choice but to move forward,” he said. “That’s life. It’s not the only thing that happens in life. I mean, you’re all dealing with something, but you’re still moving forward, you’re Still progressing, you guys still moving forward. We have to do the same damn thing.
“We didn’t expect this. A lot of things in life are unexpected and this is one of them. … Let’s go. We can’t sit down and have a pity party. Y’all don’t feel sorry for us. Any of you Some people are ecstatic about what happened today, I know that, but it’s cool. We’re going to take this because we deserve it.”