While there were areas the Buffaloes could work on, putting one in the win column against a team at home that is coming off a national championship game appearance made the debut of head coach Deion Sanders extra sweet.
It is now apparent that the Buffaloes will be much improved in 2023. Let’s get out the red pen and see how each group performed in our first report card of the new season:
The coaching staff was incredible on Saturday. Even with some struggles in two phases of the game (foreshadowing), Coach Prime praised his staff for calling the right plays in the right situations. The coaching staff will now work on getting those players to execute in that direction. But for at least one game, the staff had the Buffs ready and unwavering in the face of adversity.
Special Teams: D-plus
Let’s get the rough stuff out of the way early. The special teams unit will have the most work to do between Week 1 and Week 2. Colorado’s field goal unit allowed an easy block in the first half and the kick coverage allowed a huge return in the second half.
Jace Feely rebounded and hit a 49-yard field goal, and Mark Vassett showed great control of his punts, including a coffin corner bull’s-eye that pinned TCU inside its 1.
The Colorado defense was up-and-down on Saturday. It gave up a bunch of yards, especially on the ground, and 42 points. But the D changed the momentum with two red zone interceptions of TCU quarterback Chandler Morris to keep the Buffs ahead.
The defense also made plays when needed in crunch time. The Buffs stuffed TCU on the ground in the Horned Frogs’ final offensive drive. The Buffs’ defense created pressure on a fourth-and-9 to get off the field.
For long-suffering Buffaloes fans, this is what an explosive offense looks like. CU had scoring opportunities on 8 of 12 drives and came away with 45 points. Colorado even left a few points on the field. When some of those deep balls start connecting consistently, we are going to be staring at 50-point games.
Shedeur Sanders, Dylan Edwards, Jimmy Horn, Travis Hunter and Xavier Weaver balled out. This passing game is going to be an issue for every team that faces the Buffaloes this season.
I would also like to send a special shoutout to Jack Bailey and Bishop Thomas. During Edwards’ catch-and-run touchdown to start the second half, Bailey was 20 yards down the field when he threw the breakaway block. Thomas, a defensive tackle by trade, also put a Horned Frog on the ground during a first-half touchdown run.
Game 1 was a magical introduction of the Coach Prime-led Colorado Buffaloes, but they will need to clean a few things up if they want to take that next step. I will not belabor the point, but the Buffaloes have a chance to make some noise this season. Their first game was just a taste of what this team can do. When they start firing in all three phases, watch out, Pac-12.