Colorado looks to continue impressive start against rival CSU on TSN+
Two weeks into the college football season and Colorado head coach Deion Sanders has taken a program that teetered on the brink of irrelevancy to No. 18 in the latest AP Top 25 with an opportunity to improve to 3-0 as they host Colorado State on Saturday night on TSN+.
Colorado has already pulled off impressive victories of last year's National Champion runner-up TCU and Nebraska.
Sanders, a Pro Football Hall of Famer as a player, said Tuesday, though, that there isn't time for his team to rest on their early laurels.
“Santa don’t have time. He’s got to deliver the gifts. He ain’t got time to enjoy his cookies. That's all he gets,” Sanders said. “I’ve got to keep it going. I’ve got to keep this machine going, and make sure we stay on the right path and make sure we’re locked in and we’re focused on the right things.
“It’s a lot driving this train. It’s not easy.”
The secret, or not-so-secret, to Colorado's easy-season success has been the play of Sanders' kin, Shedeur Sanders, and two-way star Tarvis Hunter.
Shedeur Sanders and Hunter followed 'Coach Prime' to Colorado following their shared time at Jackson State, a Historically Black College and University and member of the NCAA Div. 1 Southwest Athletic Conference. Over his two seasons at JSU (2021-22), Sanders completed 613 passes for 6,963 yards and 70 touchdowns to 14 interceptions.
Hunter played both sides of the ball in his lone 2022 season with JSU. Hunter recorded 15 solo tackles, defended eight passes and earned a pair of interceptions on the defensive side of the ball.
On offence, Hunter hauled in 18 receptions for 190 yards and four touchdowns.
Through two games in a new school and a new conference, Sanders and Hunter don't appear to have lost a step. Perhaps they've even gained one as Sanders' 903 passing yards is second in the nation to Hawaii pivot Brayden Schager.
Hunter has produced at the power-five level as well, having already recorded a career-best 192 receiving yards to go along with an interception.
The Rocky Mountain Showdown, the name given to the Colorado-Colorado State rivalry, has roots dating back to 1893 when the two schools met in Boulder for the inaugural game. Since then, Colorado has gone on to win 67 of the 91 meetings and enter Saturday's game riding a five-game win streak (2015-19).
Saturday's tilt marks the first meeting between the two schools since the Buffaloes last win in 2019 as the Pac-12 conference restricted schools to conference-only competition in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.