Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders missed Utah game due to fracture in back

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) walks toward the locker room during the first half of the team's NCAA college football game against Washington State, Friday, Nov. 17, 2023, in Pullman, Wash. (AP Photo/Young Kwak)

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders missed CU’s season finale vs. Utah on Saturday because he has a fracture in his back.

Sanders exited Colorado’s previous game at Washington State in the first half after taking a hard hit, but no specifics about the extent of his injury were provided at the time. However, the nature of Sanders’ injury was revealed in a video posted Sunday by his brother, Deion Sanders Jr., who documents the Colorado football program for his “Well Off Media” YouTube channel.

The video posted shows behind-the-scenes footage leading up to the Utah game. Sanders traveled to Salt Lake City with the team and joined his teammates on the field before the game, but did not participate in warmups. As he and Deion Jr. walk out onto the field at Rice-Eccles Stadium, Shedeur tells his brother he feels good but he knows he can’t run at full speed or comfortably throw the ball.

“It’s crazy because I feel good, bro. But when I start running for real, it’s like, ‘Ah, I feel good.’ But realistically, you can’t. And I can’t even throw right now,” Sanders said.

It’s unclear when Sanders’ injury occurred. His father, Colorado head coach Deion Sanders, said after the Utah game that Shedeur has been “hurting for a while.”

Shedeur Sanders has been sacked 52 times this season, which is more than any other quarterback in college football. Despite the constant pressure in his face, Sanders threw for 3,230 yards and 27 touchdowns with only three interceptions while completing 69.3% of his attempts. He also rushed for four scores in his first season at the FBS level after following his father from Jackson State to Colorado.

With Sanders sidelined, freshman Ryan Staub started in his place as the Buffaloes lost 23-17 to finish the season with a 4-8 record in Deion Sanders’ first season as head coach.

The Buffs started the season 3-0 and then were 4-2 after a road win over Arizona State on Oct. 7. From there, they lost their final six games with four of those losses coming by a one-score margin. Despite the rough finish, it was an improvement compared to the 2022 season when Colorado finished 1-11 and average margin of defeat was 29.1 points.

Shedeur Sanders has garnered some NFL buzz from his strong play this year but is expected to return to Colorado for his final season of eligibility in 2024.