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Coach Prime sends a message about the new standard in Colorado

Deion Sanders Deion Sanders - The Canadian Press

For the first time since arriving in Boulder, Deion Sanders is showing some vulnerability.

Colorado halted its losing streak last weekend, but a 27-24 win over unranked Arizona State seemed to leave Coach Prime with more questions than answers.

"Played like hot garbage," Sanders said after the game. "I'm trying to figure this out. I'm sick of it."

It was a side of Sanders that hasn't been seen since he was named Colorado's head coach last December. Even after a 42-6 loss to Oregon sent the Buffaloes crashing back to earth last month, Sanders was defiantly opposed to the notion of his team rolling over and dying.

"You better get me right now," he claimed at the time. "This is the worst we're gonna be."

Sanders didn't buckle a week later, when Colorado's defence was shredded for a second straight game. The Buffaloes fought back from a 34-7 second-quarter deficit, ultimately coming up short in a 48-41 loss to reigning Heisman winner Caleb Williams and USC.

Sanders identified some areas of concern afterward, but the mood remained upbeat.

But things reached a breaking point following the meeting with Arizona State – a game in which Colorado committed eight penalties and was outgained by 96 yards. The Buffaloes are allowing an average of 465.5 yards of total offence in six games this season, which is fifth worst in all of college football.

"I expect to win in a better fashion than that," Sanders said after escaping with the win. "I'm sick of these consistent holes we're displaying. I apologize for my anger, but I don't accept mediocrity."

At least one member of the Sanders family walked away happy. Sanders’ son, Shedeur, threw for 239 yards and a touchdown and engineered a drive to set up a game-winning field goal by Alejandro Mata. But that was only necessary after the Sun Devils drove 94 yards to tie the game with 50 seconds remaining.

"If we've got a chance, we're gonna to win," Shedeur boasted afterward. "They left too much time on the clock. Nobody panicked or flinched. I definitely knew what was gonna happen."

Colorado struggled in another familiar area against the Sun Devils. Shedeur was sacked five times, bringing his season total to 30 – four more than any other quarterback in the FBS. Even with offensive line woes plaguing the Buffaloes all season, Shedeur shouldered the responsibility after the game.

"I'm holding the ball a little bit too long," he admitted. "Not going through everything. Not playing perfect."

Shedeur may have been willing to let his teammates off the hook, but Sanders wasn't. On Tuesday he was adamant about sending a message to certain position groups in the aftermath of the Arizona State game. Namely, the offensive line.

"I got their attention," he said. "Everyone inside that locker room – coaches included – I got their attention. This ain’t a mind game I'm playing. I don't stutter, nor do I stumble. I make it plain."

Colorado should get a boost Friday against Stanford (TSN5,, TSN App, 10pm et/7pm pt) with the expected return of two-way star Travis Hunter, who's been sidelined since suffering an injury against Colorado State last month. But things get challenging following this week, with four of the Buffaloes' final five games against conference opponents that are currently ranked.

There's plenty at stake for Colorado. Currently 4-2, it needs two wins in its final six games to be bowl eligible, which would be an impressive accomplishment for a program that was 1-11 last year. But for now, Coach Prime is focused on Stanford.

"I don't give a damn about a bowl right now," he said on Tuesday. "We want to win. If that's part of the package at the conclusion of the season, I'm all for it. But that's the least of my concerns right now."

For now, Sanders’ sights are on something bigger. The focus remains building Colorado into a powerhouse, while continuing to do things his way.

"I have a lofty standard," he said. "That's why I'm here."