BOULDER, Colo. (AP) — Shedeur Sanders spent all day avoiding the rush, including from his own fans who were storming the field.
It’s a moment the Colorado quarterback thought he wanted — even stayed on the field to enjoy.
“But I started getting beat up,” he said with a laugh.
Sanders accounted for three scores, the defense forced four turnovers and the 22nd-ranked Buffaloes beat longtime rival Nebraska 36-14 on Saturday in the home debut of Deion Sanders at sold-out Folsom Field.
After Coach Prime’s team was the story of Week 1 with an upset of TCU, the Buffs showed it was no fluke. They even used a slightly different blueprint — one that relied on the defense early until the offense found its rhythm.
“This team,” Deion Sanders said, “hasn’t scratched the surface of what it’s capable of doing.”
Shedeur Sanders threw for 393 yards and two scores, while running for another touchdown. He capped his 6-yard romp in the fourth quarter with the dance steps his dad made famous during his playing days.
“I really think I did better than him, honestly,” the quarterback said of his shuffle.
Not so fast, his father cautioned.
“The Lord passed us when it came to dancing,” his dad said.
The Buffaloes (2-0) needed a moment to wake up given the early kickoff. But once they did, they were unstoppable. After punting on their first four drives, Shedeur Sanders and the offense scored on seven of eight possessions to turn the game into a rout. The Buffaloes outgained the Huskers (0-2) by a 454-341 margin.
“We’ve just got to be able to start faster and be able to lock in quicker,” Sanders said. “They (the defense) had our backs.”
The fans ran onto the field to celebrate with a second remaining. After a momentary delay, the official announced it was over and more rushed out.
“This is my first time somebody rushed the field,” he said. “It looked fun.”
Then, all the contact.
“I’m telling you, stay out of it,” he said. “It was a bittersweet moment.”
The contest featured two coaches trying to turn around programs that have fallen on lean times. Deion Sanders has elevated Colorado to the point where the Buffaloes had 53,241 fans in attendance — their largest crowd in 15 years — and tickets going for roughly $400. His counterpart, Matt Rhule, is still looking for his first win at Nebraska.
“I think we’re better than we’re showing. But what does that mean? It’s just words,” Rhule said. “I told the team, ‘We’re going to get this right.’”
Xavier Weaver hauled in 10 passes for 170 yards and a score, while Jace Feely connected on three field goals.
Shedeur Sanders stayed cool despite being under constant pressure and sacked seven times. He distributed the production, just like he did in a 45-42 win at TCU last weekend.
Tar’Varish Dawson had a big afternoon, with a 30-yard touchdown catch and an 8-yard score on a reverse.
The defense held the Cornhuskers in check until Colorado’s offense got revved up.
Nebraska quarterback Jeff Sims fumbled two snaps, lost another on a botched handoff and had a pass picked off. Sims also had a 57-yard run for a score that cut the deficit to 13-7 in the third quarter. But he was knocked out of the game in the fourth quarter when he had his left ankle rolled on as he scrambled to make a throw.
“I don’t think there’s any finger pointing going on,” linebacker Nick Henrich said. “We’ve just got to keep growing together. Everyone can do something better.”
Travis Hunter, CU’s versatile cornerback and receiver, rarely left the field. He finished with three catches for 73 yards, while also making four tackles. Hunter played 129 snaps at TCU.
The fans showed up early to get good seats as Folsom Field kicked off its 100th season in electric fashion. The crew for Fox’s “Big Noon Kickoff” was on hand, too, and welcomed Colorado royalty Kordell Stewart and Michael Westbrook to the set. Hall of Fame receivers Michael Irvin, Deion Sanders’ old Cowboys teammate, and Terrell Owens also were at the game.
The seat everyone wanted on the Colorado sideline? The newly unveiled “turnover throne,” of course. Jordan Domineck, Arden Walker and Bishop Thomas recovered fumbles, while Cam’Ron Silmon-Craig had an interception.
The Buffaloes were fitted for suits courtesy of Michael Strahan’s line, with the finishing touches for the outfit inspired by Deion Sanders. The inside lining of the tan suits include the Colorado logo and Sanders’ phrase, “I Believe.”
Nebraska: Nebraska has dropped its last five nonconference road games and 22 straight games against ranked teams, dating back to 2016.
Colorado: The Buffaloes have their first three-game winning streak over the Huskers since the 1950s.
Colorado should be on the rise once again.
Nebraska: Host Northern Illinois on Saturday.
Colorado: Host another rival, Colorado State, on Saturday night.