'David's got to have a Goliath': Deion Sanders, Colorado prepare for undefeated USC

Colorado football coach Deion Sanders came up with a biblical analogy to describe the state of his team this week as they prepare to face another undefeated juggernaut with an NFL-caliber quarterback.

Sanders' Buffaloes just got trounced at Oregon last Saturday, 42-6. Now comes No. 6 Southern California at home this Saturday in another Big Noon Kickoff on Fox.

"You’ve got to understand David’s got to have a Goliath," Sanders said Tuesday at his weekly news conference in Boulder. "If David don’t have a Goliath, he don’t get to use his stones."

Colorado (3-1) is performing the role of David again against USC (4-0). The Buffs are three-touchdown underdogs to a USC program that is 16-0 against Colorado dating to 1927. The Trojans also have a quarterback, Caleb Williams, who won the Heisman Trophy last year and this year leads the nation in passing efficiency and most points responsible for (110).

'YOU KNOW WHY': Deion Sanders discusses opposing coaches who took verbal shots at him

Colorado football coach Deion Sanders throws during warm ups before the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon on Sept. 23, 2023.
Colorado football coach Deion Sanders throws during warm ups before the game against the Oregon Ducks at Autzen Stadium in Eugene, Oregon on Sept. 23, 2023.

Deion Sanders on Colorado running game: 'She can't cook'

To be able to bring down USC, Sanders will need the slingshot arm of his quarterback son, Shedeur, who ranks second nationally in passing yards per game (352.5) despite being sacked 22 times in four games.

And it would help if Colorado had David's "stones" in its running game to help take the load off of Sanders. But the Buffs rank dead last out of 130 major college teams nationally with only 55.8 rushing yards per game.

Are the Buffs even committed to the running game?

A reported asked Sanders that Tuesday.

"That’s just like asking your wife, 'Are you committed to a good meal every night?' and she can’t cook," Sanders said. "We gotta be able to cook the meal, right, before we can commit to it. We’ve got to be able to cook the running game before we commit to it."

Shilo Sanders might not play vs. USC's Caleb Williams

Another big audience is expected for Colorado, which drew more than 10 million viewers in last week’s game at Oregon, the most-watched college football game of the season, according to Nielsen. That makes more than 35 million viewers for four games combined. The question is whether the audience might lose interest if the Buffs can’t stay in the game vs. Trojans.

"Everybody waiting for us to respond," Colorado linebacker Juwan Mitchell said Tuesday. "So we don’t got time for a pity party, things of that sort. So we right back to work, right back where we started. Nobody expected us to be 3-0."

One problem for the Buffs is they have personnel issues in the secondary, right when they're about to face possibly the best quarterback in America.

∎ The Buffs might be without the services of starting safety Shilo Sanders, who suffered an unspecified injury in the last game. Deion Sanders, his father, said he was "praying that he can play." Shilo told his other brother Deion Jr. he was "peeing blood" and had to go get medical attention after he "landed on my kidney or something" in the Oregon game.

∎ Another defensive back, star cornerback-receiver Travis Hunter, is expected to miss another week after suffering a lacerated liver Sept. 16 in a win against Colorado State.

∎ Before the season, there was hope that another defensive back, Cormani McClain, would help defend against the likes of Caleb Williams. McClain even was the nation’s top cornerback recruit earlier this year. But he’s barely played. Deion Sanders explained why Tuesday, saying McClain needs to "study, prepare, be on time for meetings, show up to the darn meetings."

Sanders said he checks the film study time of his players each week.

"If I don’t see that, you will be a fool to put somebody out there and they’re unprepared," Sanders said. "Can’t do it. Won’t do it. Can’t do it. I’m old-school, sorry."

Deion Sanders on the bigger picture

Deion Sanders went out of his way to praise USC head coach Lincoln Riley, taking a different approach from a string of recent coaches who took verbal shots at Sanders and his team before games this season. He called Riley a "bona fide winner." He also tried to emphasize the bigger picture. Before Sanders arrived in Boulder in December, the Buffs were 1-11.

"For some people, they have disdain for what we are and what transpired," Sanders said. "To be 3-1 and not satisfied, don’t that say a lot about this program? You’re 3-1 and you’re not satisfied, and you know you can do better. So I’m happy with that understanding and that change of the thought process of this program. And I love where we’re headed."

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Deion Sanders, Colorado football prepare for USC, Caleb Williams