For all those that didn’t know: Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders is the real deal.
After throwing for 70 touchdowns over two years as the QB at Jackson State, Sanders followed his father Deion to Colorado. There were many questions about how his game would translate to the Power 5 level after dominating the FCS, and going into a game on the road against TCU those questions would be answered immediately.
All Sanders did in his Colorado debut was throw for 510 yards and four touchdowns in the Buffaloes victory over TCU, in the process leaping into the the Heisman race and catching the eye of NFL draft evaluators. Those who followed Sanders have always known he was a high level QB, but his performance against a ranked Horned Frogs team in a road win solidified his talent on a very real stage.
I mean just look at this chart, via NFL Draft/QB expert Cory Kinnan:
Not sure there is not a throw Shedeur Sanders didn’t make yesterday. Unreal accuracy down the field. A handful of backside throws over the MOF.
Sean Lewis will have a P5 head coaching gig next year as well. pic.twitter.com/b2a0PSosEQ
— Cory (@fakecorykinnan) September 4, 2023
One of the things that stood out about Sanders on Saturday was how efficient he was in the quick game and short areas of the field. He’s a quick processor without much fat on his dropbacks, and TCU was giving Colorado a lot of space underneath. Sanders made them pay every time.
Here Colorado is working an RPO concept against the blitz, and watch how Sanders gets his hips around and his feet set, then throws a strike for a first down. Very quick and efficient play.
In addition to working really well in the quick game, Sanders also had answers against pressure on occasion, working outside the pocket and standing in and delivering the ball under pressure. The Buffaloes run four verticals out of a 3×1 set to the right, and as the ball is snapped, it’s clear the Horned Frogs are in man coverage. The linebacker defending the RB sees the back stay in to pass protect, and he blitzes and gets a free run on Sanders.
That doesn’t faze Sanders, as he sits in and throws a strike for a 20-yard gain. Like a buzzsaw.
The final thing that stood out about Sanders’ play on Saturday is how dialed in he was with the deep ball. He was decisive with what he saw, and whenever TCU rolled into single high coverage Sanders knew exactly where he was going. This deep ball to Travis Hunter was very early in the game, but if Hunter holds onto this, Sanders quite possibly gets closer to 600 passing yards.
This one was a completed pass downfield, and whew buddy was it a good one. Sanders holds the safety to the left just enough to create the window downfield, and then he drops this ball right in a bucket. Just textbook QB play by Sanders.
Colorado is fun and explosive on offense. They still have depth issues, but the skill position talent is very good, and that makes them a tough team to beat. Will it lead to immediate dominance in the Pac-12? That still has yet to be seen, but with Shedeur Sanders at the helm this team is going to be must watch every week.