What Coach Prime said about Colorado football after ending the season at 4-8

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On the surface, the end of the University of Colorado football season in 2023 appeared to be no different than usual: another loss, another bowl-less season, another losing streak heading into the offseason.Deion Sanders, the team’s first-year head coach, sees things differently. It all starts with the Buffaloes going out looking like they still had something to play for.”They won,” Sanders declared. “If you were here a year ago and saw what we were up against in the spring… They won.” They won, maybe not on the scoreboard every week, but they won. And we have to build on the things that they have done extremely well.”

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The Utah Utes, led by fifth-string walk-on quarterback Luke Bottari, handed Colorado its sixth straight loss in their final regular-season game as Pac-12 members. Utah ran the ball 53 times with only 10 pass attempts and gained 268 yards. In contrast, the Buffaloes, who had only 34 rushing yards at halftime, gained only 3 yards on the ground in the second half. But, in relief of the injured starting quarterback Shedeur Sanders, freshman backup quarterback Ryan Staub completed 17 of 24 passes for 195 yards and a touchdown while being sacked only twice, a significant improvement for CU’s ailing offensive line.

Despite the fact that Colorado never led, Staub’s 18-yard touchdown pass to two-way sensation Travis Hunter in the fourth quarter offered the Buffaloes a chance to pull off a comeback even though they were already out of bowl contention.”We had a shot at winning that game.” “I like that,” Sanders commented. “I like that a lot, especially without our quarterback.” I like that, especially without some of the things I’m sure we’ll get commitments from in about 10 days. That appeals to me. I enjoy where we’re at. I truly believe it.”Fortunately for the Utes, Colorado never had another opportunity to score, as the offense relied on rushing backs Jaydon Glover, Ja’Quinden Jackson, and Sione Vaki to consume the remaining 7:31 of the fourth quarter.

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Bottari, who finished with two scores on 11 rushing yards and six touchdowns on six passes for 61 yards, knelt out the final 1:44 of the game after the Utes moved into Colorado territory.Bottari had only completed three passes in the first half, and Sanders predicted that Utah’s quarterback issue would lead to an unusually run-heavy gameplan.”Anyone with a football mind knew they were going to run the darn ball.” “What else are they going to do?” Sanders explained. “What else are they going to try, throw it around 40 times?” That is not their personality. They’re a physical, tough, hard-nosed club that runs right at you, which is exactly what they did. It’s not difficult to figure them out. You know he’s coming for you.”

 

Sanders’ segment of the Colorado press conference lasted around 22 minutes (they generally take about 8-10 minutes), and much of the questions given had to do with what Sanders plans to do in the offseason after his first season with the Buffaloes did not go as planned. The transfer site, which basically constructed Sanders’ team from the ground up this season, is anticipated to bring in a number of new players. Sanders expects “a plethora” of players.”We want to win now, right?” Sanders explained. “I don’t mind putting them high school kids in the microwave and letting them warm up a little bit, but you gotta understand what you really get out of that.”

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Sanders appeared to be in good spirits at his post-game press conference. He went so far as to compliment reporters for the publicity and “the truth that you told and the fabrications that some of you told as well.” He is certainly the most publicized first-year head coach in college football this season. “I appreciate everything.”Sanders’ first move after the season ends, he says, is to “make sure my sons are good.”


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