Sequels so rarely live up to the original, but Colorado’s second act against Nebraska was, if anything, a more emphatic performance for coach Deion Sanders’ team.
Colorado demolished Nebraska 36-14 on Saturday, as Travis Hunter again made an impact on both sides of the ball with three catches for 73 yards and four tackles, Xavier Weaver looked like an emerging superstar with 10 catches for 170 yards, and Shedeur Sanders followed up his 500-yard passing performance against TCU with another 393 yards and three touchdowns. And while Week 1’s win over the Horned Frogs hardly showcased an elite defense, the Buffaloes held Nebraska to just 11 completions and had four takeaways.
But as with most genuinely good sequels, the real entertainment is less in what we learned of an already established hero but more in the complexity of the antagonist.
And in this case, Nebraska offered no complexity. The story of the Cornhuskers is simple: They’re bad.
Saturday’s loss was the 18th in Nebraska’s past 23 games. Jeff Sims, the quarterback coach Matt Rhule handpicked to lead the Huskers’ resurgence, was dreadful for the second straight week, turning the ball over three times. The defense, which held up well early, fell apart down the stretch.
The only thing that looked much different from past Nebraska misery on Saturday is that the game was never actually all that close.
There are still nits to pick with the Buffaloes. In their two otherwise impressive wins, they’ve allowed 12 sacks and rushed for just 1.7 yards per carry. And it’s certainly possible Colorado has yet to see a truly challenging opponent.
A year ago, however, the Buffs were an embarrassment, hardly capable of taking the field without tripping over their own shoe laces. Now, you have to squint to find any flaws in their game.
The problems at Nebraska are so much bigger — bigger, perhaps, than they were even a year ago, amid embarrassing losses to Northwestern and Georgia Southern and, well, Huskers fans don’t need reminders.
Two games isn’t enough to judge a rebuild, of course. Rhule has a long history of winning college football games, and life gets at least marginally easier in the next couple of weeks.
But Sims is now 7-18 as a starting QB with 39 touchdowns and 37 turnovers. Is there a reason to think that résumé changes in the months to come?
Those Blackshirts on defense, once the soul of one of the great programs in the country, have been beaten down by one showing of offensive ineptitude after another.
And while the party in Boulder is just getting started, hope for Nebraska still feels like it’s a long ways off.
Did you say ‘Utes’?
No Cam Rising? No problem. Well, OK, a few problems. But Utah’s offensive woes against Baylor on Saturday weren’t enough to keep the Utes from moving to 2-0 on the season.
Baylor led 13-3 midway through the third quarter, but coach Kyle Whittingham pulled his starting QB, Bryson Barnes, and went with freshman Nate Johnson, who engineered a late comeback. Johnson completed 6 of 7 throws for 82 yards and added another 32 yards on the ground, including a touchdown — one of two Utah scores in the game’s final two minutes.
Still, Baylor nearly stole the win.
After Jaylon Glover scored to give Utah a 20-13 lead with 17 seconds to play, Baylor connected on a 47-yard throw to Hal Presley, setting up one final heave to the end zone with one second left on the clock.
Technically, the pass fell incomplete. But that’s not how Baylor fans will remember it.
Baylor’s last-ditch drive cut short by controversial no-call
Sawyer Robertson connects with Hal Presley to set up one last chance for Baylor, but it comes up short in the end zone.
After years of enduring Pac-12 officiating, this must have felt like an early welcome into the Big 12 for the Utes. What looked like a clear defensive pass interference didn’t earn a flag, and the Utes escaped 20-13.
Irish keep ACC streak alive
Notre Dame is not going to join the ACC. Oh, sure, it’s technically a full voting member and spent a portion of this summer nudging the league to add Cal and Stanford, ostensibly for the good of college football, but make no mistake, the Irish are only here to bring the ACC down from the inside.
On Saturday, the Irish toppled NC State 45-24, with Sam Hartman — the ACC’s all-time leading passer whom the Irish swiped from Wake Forest this offseason — throwing for four touchdowns.
It was the first time in 17 games NC State has allowed more than 30 points. The last QB to do it? That’d be Sam Hartman.
Notre Dame has now won 29 straight regular-season games vs. the ACC. Syracuse, which joined the ACC full time in 2013, has just 26 total wins against the conference since then.
Indeed, since the Irish joined the ACC in all sports but football — they typically play five games per year against the conference — in 2014, they’ve racked up 42 ACC wins. Only Clemson, Pitt and Miami have more. The other 11 full-time ACC members have been left in Notre Dame’s dust.
If the ACC were the cast of “Succession,” Notre Dame is Tom Wambsgans. He was welcomed into the family, pushed for a big merger to go through, then stole all the power for himself. (Side note: Miami is definitely Cousin Greg, right?)
This is all incredibly problematic for the ACC, but it’s worth remembering that, starting next year, SMU, Stanford and Cal can also lose games to Notre Dame.
You know, for the good of the league.
Bad day in the First State
Delaware was the first state to ratify the U.S. constitution on Dec. 7, 1787. It’s been mostly downhill since then, save Elena Delle Donne and a few good shows at the Bottle & Cork. But Saturday might have been the state’s nadir.
The Delaware Fightin’ Blue Hens visited Penn State, and it didn’t go well. The Nittany Lions won 63-7.
The Delaware State Hornets visited Army, and it didn’t go well either. The Black Knights won 57-0.
If you’re keeping track, that means the two Division I teams from Delaware lost by a combined score of 120-7.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, however. All the big name, image and likeness money in Delaware is being funneled through its famous chicken farms right to Florida State, keying that program’s return to greatness.
— Message Board Geniuses (@BoardGeniuses) August 20, 2023
We knew once they started opening Wawa locations in Florida, it was only a matter of time before this happened.
Big bets and bad beats
Well, we think it’s safe to say Georgia has lost its edge. The Bulldogs allowed Ball State to drive down the field and boot a meaningless 27-yard field goal with 9 minutes, 5 seconds to play, making the score 45-3. That’s how it ended, which meant UGA (-42) hit the spread right on the nose.
Wake Forest opened its win over Vanderbilt with an interception that set the Deacons up with a first-and-goal at the 10. They settled for a field goal. Wake got the ball with seven seconds left in the first half and moved into field goal range, but it missed a 44-yarder. Vandy had four plays inside Wake’s 3 but turned the ball over on downs. Wake had a first-and-goal at the Vandy 2 but fumbled. None of that made much difference in the Deacons’ impressive enough 36-20 win, but all those miscues were worth noting if you bet the over, which came up a half-point shy (56.5).