How Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes can keep their post-season hopes alive vs. Washington State
in staff and roster, Washington State and Colorado are parallels.
“They’re so similar to us statistically, physically,” said Coach Prime. “They’re really similar, they really are when you look at this team and what they’re capable of doing.”
Both WSU and CU earned AP Top-25 rankings after blazing-hot starts to the season but have since fallen into a losing rut. Shedeur Sanders and Washington State quarterback Cam Ward are great friends off the field and have proven themselves to be two of the best quarterbacks in the nation despite also being two of the most sacked QBs in 2023. Shedeur has only passed for 17 more yards than Ward on the season as the duo have had to try and carry their teams to wins without the threat of an efficient running game.
Colorado’s running game is now the worst in the nation according to rushing yards per game (69.9) and freshman Dylan Edwards has been a non-factor since his breakout performance in Week 1 vs. TCU. Against the Horned Frogs, Edwards had 135 receiving yards and shredded TCU’s defense with his speed and receiving skills out of the backfield. Since then, Edwards has only eclipsed 20 receiving yards in a game three times.
CU and WSU possess lethal passing attacks and average over 30 points per game. The over/under for Friday’s game is set at 62.5 at DraftKings Sportsbook and the forecast for Friday night suggests that the ball will be flying around for both teams. It’s no secret that these are two of the best offenses in the country despite their deficiencies, so whose defense is going to be able to step up and make a play that could decide the game?
Colorado continues to work on limiting big plays but still is one of the best teams in the country at forcing turnovers and limiting turnovers of their own. The Buffs boast a +11 turnover ratio and have only given the ball away more than once in a game this season (Colorado St.). Shedeur Sanders carries a 26/3 touchdown-to-interception ratio and has only lost one fumble going into Friday night’s game. CU defensive tackle Amari McNeil was asked about what he’s seen from Cam Ward on tape and how he compares to Shedeur Sanders.
“I think Shedeur’s more of a better quarterback but Cam, he does put the ball on the ground a lot,” said McNeil. “So the plan this week is to just get back there and just cause havoc. He’s quick and they do score, they can score so he’s a good quarterback. But has a lot of turnovers so.”
Ward has certainly flashed as a passer with NFL upside again in 2023 after a strong first year at the FBS level last season. Through ten games this year, Ward has thrown for 20 touchdowns and five interceptions while completing 67% of his passes but has fumbled the ball 11 with seven of those resulting in turnovers.
Both teams are desperate for a win after their recent losing streaks and bowl eligibility is on the line for both teams. On Thursday, Brett McMurphy of the Action Network reported that if the favored teams win all their games the last two weeks of the regular season there will be at least three 5-7 teams going bowling this year.
While Coach Prime’s first season as Colorado’s head football coach is widely considered a success, a win over Washington State could bring the Buffs back to their first bowl game since 2020. Given how the season has gone for both Washington State and Colorado, the stage is set for an all-out brawl with bowl eligi
bility on the line.