Colorado Buffaloes continued their impressive run under first-year coach Deion Sanders with a 46-43 win over Stanford Cardinal on Friday night at Folsom Field. The Buffaloes improved to 5-2 and moved one step closer to bowl eligibility, while the Cardinal dropped to 1-5 and extended their losing streak to five games.
The game was a back-and-forth affair that featured 10 lead changes and over 1,000 yards of total offense. Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders, the son of the legendary coach, was the star of the night, throwing for 400 yards and five touchdowns with no interceptions. He also ran for 37 yards and made several clutch plays in the final drive.
With the score tied at 43-43 and less than a minute left in the game, Sanders completed a 43-yard pass to Jimmy Horn Jr. to set up Alejandro Mata’s game-winning 34-yard field goal as time expired. It was Mata’s fourth field goal of the night and his second game-winner of the season.
Hunter returns with a bang for Colorado
One of the biggest storylines of the game was the return of Travis Hunter, the most exciting player in college football. The two-way superstar had missed the last three games with a lacerated liver suffered in the Week 3 win over Colorado State. He was questionable for Friday’s game, but he showed no signs of rust or hesitation.
Hunter played on both sides of the ball, lining up as a wide receiver and a cornerback. He caught 13 passes for 140 yards and two touchdowns, and also had two interceptions and four pass breakups on defense. He scored the first touchdown of the game on a 12-yard catch from Sanders, and later added a 28-yard score in the third quarter.
Hunter also had a key role in the final drive, drawing a pass interference penalty on Stanford’s Tiger Bachmeier that moved the ball to midfield. He then made a spectacular diving catch for 18 yards to put Colorado in field goal range.
Stanford’s offense shines despite loss
Despite the loss, Stanford’s offense had one of its best performances of the season. The Cardinal racked up 548 yards of total offense and scored six touchdowns against Colorado’s defense. They also converted 10 of 15 third downs and had no turnovers.
Stanford quarterback Ashton Daniels had a career-high 396 passing yards and four touchdowns, while also rushing for 39 yards. He connected with Elic Ayomanor 13 times for 294 yards and three touchdowns, setting school records for receiving yards and touchdowns in a single game. Ayomanor had touchdown catches of 75, 62 and 44 yards, showcasing his speed and playmaking ability.
Stanford also had some success on the ground, rushing for 152 yards and two touchdowns. Justin Lamson had a 30-yard touchdown run on a trick play in the first quarter, while Bryce Farrell added a 21-yard score in the fourth quarter.
What’s next for both teams?
Colorado will look to keep its momentum going when it hosts Oregon State next week. The Buffaloes have won three of their last four games and are second in the Pac-12 South standings behind Utah. They will face a tough challenge from the Beavers, who are leading the Pac-12 North with a 4-1 record.
Stanford will try to snap its losing skid when it visits Washington State next week. The Cardinal have not won since their season opener against Hawaii and are last in the Pac-12 North. They will face a surging Cougars team that has won three straight games and is tied for second in the division with Oregon.