Colorado-Colorado State showdown featured plenty of crazy highlights

As ESPN’s coverage of Saturday’s Tennessee-Florida game ran over into the time slot of the eagerly anticipated showdown between Colorado State and No. 18 Colorado, a split screen showed Rams and Buffaloes players getting chippy as they gathered at midfield — and the game hadn’t even started.

Once it did, things got even more wild.

It took two overtimes to settle the rivalry, with fans pouring onto Folsom Field in Boulder when the 18th-ranked Buffaloes wrapped up their 43-35 victory just after midnight in the Rockies with an interception. “We showed that we were resilient. We showed that we would fight,” Buffaloes Coach Deion Sanders said. “We showed that we had no surrender or give up in us and that’s a lot for a team that’s fairly new.”

Among other things, viewers of the game that started at 10 p.m. Eastern time saw were:

Celebrities! Call it the “Prime” effect. Whatever Sanders is doing, it has star power, with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Offset, Kawhi Leonard, Lil Wayne, Rob Gronkowski in town.

The midweek verbal jabs between Deion Sanders and CSU Coach Jay Norvell added fuel to the rivalry. Norvell had criticized Sanders for wearing hats and sunglasses in news conferences. “When I talk to grown-ups, I take my hat off and my glasses off,” Norvell had said, in a comment that sent sales of Sanders’s sunglasses skyrocketing.

That lent drama, as if the game could hold any more, to the postgame midfield handshake. Sanders and Norvell embraced and shared a brief conversation. “I’m happy for the brother. I really am,” Sanders said. “I’m happy that they fought, that they played a good game. I’m happy he’s the head coach. I’m happy for any brother that’s doing it and is successful man. I truly am. I don’t know where all this stuff comes from. I had to respond because — my mama taught me that.”

A CSU team that gave up 182 yards on 17 penalties, the ugliest coming on a vicious late hit on Buffs two-way star Travis Hunter by Rams safety Henry Blackburn in the first quarter. Hunter was sent to a hospital for evaluation and Sanders said later that Hunter might be out “a few weeks,” but offered no details.

In the last 20 years only five teams at the FBS level have been penalized more yards in a game.

Among those who wondered why Blackburn wasn’t ejected was LeBron James.

Colorado quarterback/Sanders son Shedeur Sanders has received most of the attention this season, but another member of the family played a big role in the game. Safety Shilo Sanders opened the scoring for the Buffs with an 80-yard pick six in the first quarter.

Colorado State came so close to a stunning upset, leading 28-20 with 2 minutes, 6 seconds left in regulation and pinning the Buffs at their 2 with a punt. Colorado at that point had gone eight straight drives without a touchdown, but … no matter. Shedeur Sanders led the team 98 yards on seven plays before completing a 45-yard TD pass to Jimmy Horn Jr., and following a two-point conversion the game headed to overtime.

“This is who he is,” Shedeur’s father said matter-of-factly.

Over the first 58 minutes of the game, Shedeur Sanders completed 29 of 36 passes for 196 yards and a touchdown (with an interception), his passes averaging 5.4 yards per attempt. Over the last two minutes and overtimes, he completed 9 of 11 passes for 152 yards and three touchdowns, with his pass attempts averaging 13.8.

It was a full night for Shedeur, who first was involved in the pregame scuffle. He jumped in the face of a defender moments after the late hit on Hunter and later in the first half seemed to try poking a defender in the eye.

The game, which ended shortly after midnight Mountain time, featured 917 total yards of offense, 745 of those through the air. Next up for Prime and his Must-See TV team? A game against No. 13 Oregon in Eugene, followed by a home matchup Sept. 30 against No. 5 USC.

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