Jackson State coach Deion Sanders would be a splashy hire for Colorado.

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Report: Deion Sanders set to take Colorado job

After three seasons coaching Jackson State, Deion Sanders is set to accept the head-coaching job at Colorado, ESPN reported Friday night.

Sanders previously acknowledged that he was offered the Colorado job, and CBS News Colorado reported that the Buffaloes were set to give him more than $5 million annually.

ESPN reported that Sanders and his colleagues had already reached out to coaches and staffers in Boulder regarding their availability, with a similar outreach being done to point potential recruits to a Sanders-led program at Colorado.

Meanwhile, Sanders’ current team is undefeated and set to play in the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s championship game on Saturday. Jackson State (11-0, 8-0 SWAC) will oppose Southern (7-4, 5-3) at Jackson, Miss.

CBS reported that Sanders will announce his future plans on Sunday.

Sanders, a Pro Football Hall of Famer who also played Major League Baseball, was a broadcaster following his playing career until he was hired by Jackson State in September 2020.

He led the Tigers to a 4-3 record in the spring 2021 season (postponed from the fall due to COVID-19), then guided Jackson State to an 11-2 mark and a SWAC title in the fall of 2021. That campaign ended with a loss to South Carolina State in the Celebration Bowl.

The Buffaloes got off to an 0-5 start this season, which led to the firing of head coach Karl Dorrell. Mike Sanford took over on an interim basis and led the squad to a 20-13 overtime win over Cal in his debut, but Colorado then lost its final six games to finish 1-11 (1-8 Pac-12).

–Field Level Media

Dec 1, 2022; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes student fans hold signs in reference to Jackson State University head coach Deion Sanders (not pictured) before the game against the Arizona State Sun Devils at the CU Events Center. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Prime deal: Colorado’s offer to Deion Sanders exceeds over $5M per year

Colorado reportedly offered a contract that exceeds $5 million annually to current Jackson State head coach Deion Sanders.

CBS Sports reported Friday that Sanders is expected to leave for another job and is weighing offers from Colorado and Cincinnati.

Jackson State is 11-0 entering the SWAC championship game Saturday against Southern University. Sanders went 11-2 the previous season and is 26-5 in three campaigns as JSU head coach.

Colorado finished the 2022 season 1-11 and fired head coach Karl Dorrell in October after an 0-5 start in which all the losses were by at least 23 points.

CBS reported Sanders can push his annual salary up by 40 percent each season by hitting all of the 12 performance-based escalator clauses in the proposed deal and could “reasonably make $7 million” each year if he hits only a portion of those clauses.

Sanders also talked to Cincinnati, which has focused on big names in a search for Luke Fickell’s replacement. Fickell left to become head coach at Wisconsin.

As part of Dorrell’s buyout, Colorado paid $8.7 million owed by the end of 2022.

–Field Level Media

Jackson State football coach Deion Sanders talks about the Alcorn game and what lies ahead for the Tigers during a news conference at Jackson State in Jackson, Miss., Tuesday, Nov. 22, 2022.

Tcl Deion Sanders

Deion Sanders confirms Colorado offered him head coach gig

Jackson State coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders confirmed Monday that Colorado has offered him its head-coaching position.

Fox Sports reported Saturday that Colorado offered Sanders, 55, the vacant role. Sanders was asked about the report Monday during a conference call ahead of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) championship game.

“The report is true,” Sanders said.

Sanders also said Colorado is not the only program that’s showing interest in him.

“I’m not going to sit here and tell all my business, but they’re not the only ones,” Sanders said.

Colorado fired coach Karl Dorrell in October following an 0-5 start this season. Mike Sanford served as the interim coach as the Buffaloes finished the year 1-11.

Colorado has had only two winning seasons since 2006.

Sanders was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and six-time All-Pro during his NFL career. He won two Super Bowl titles and was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and College Football Hall of Fame in 2011.

He’s made waves in his three seasons as coach of Jackson State, a historically black university playing at the FCS level.

Jackson State is 11-0 this season and will play Southern in the SWAC title game Saturday. The winner advances to the Celebration Bowl against the champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Dec. 17.

–Field Level Media

Nov 19, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies running back Wayne Taulapapa (21) stiff arms against Colorado Buffaloes safety Trevor Woods (43) during the second quarter at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Wayne Taulapapa, No. 17 Washington pummel Colorado

Wayne Taulapapa, mourning three of his former University of Virginia teammates who were shot and killed last weekend, rushed for 107 yards and two touchdowns as No. 17 Washington defeated Colorado 54-7 Saturday night in a Pac-12 Conference game in Seattle.

Cameron Davis also rushed for a pair of touchdowns for the Huskies (9-2 overall, 6-2 Pac-12), who won their fifth game in a row heading into next week’s Apple Cup game against rival Washington State.

Michael Penix Jr. completed 19 of 31 passes for 229 yards and a touchdown — a 27-yarder to Jalen McMillan on a flea flicker in the second quarter. Penix left after the Huskies built a 47-0 lead late in the third quarter.

The Buffaloes (1-10, 1-7), who suffered their fifth consecutive defeat, didn’t put up much of a fight, falling behind 33-0 by halftime. Washington finished with a 575-202 edge in total yardage.

Taulapapa scored on runs of 8 and 2 yards, helping the Huskies to a 21-0 lead.

A pair of Colorado special-teams miscues led to 12 points for Washington in the final 1:32 of the half.

The Buffaloes faced a fourth-and-10 at their own 31-yard line and lined up to punt, but the snap sailed over Trent Carrizosa’s head and rolled through the back of the end zone for a safety.

The Huskies’ Giles Jackson returned the ensuing free kick 28 yards to the Colorado 45, and Davis scored seven plays later on a 4-yard run to make it 30-0 with 15 seconds left in the half.

Colorado’s Nikko Reed fumbled the kickoff, giving the ball to the Huskies at the Buffaloes’ 16. Peyton Henry’s 33-yard field goal came on the final play of the half and made it 33-0.

Davis scored on a 6-yard run and Richard Newton plunged over from 2 yards out in the third quarter.

The Buffaloes finally got on the board on a 69-yard pass from J.T. Shrout to Montana Lemonious-Craig with 1:45 left in the third.

The Huskies capped the scoring on a 15-yard pass from Dylan Morris to Sam Adams II with 8:10 remaining.

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Washington Huskies head coach Kalen DeBoer talks with quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) during a fourth quarter timeout at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 17 Washington welcomes Colorado with big games ahead

For first-year Washington coach Kalen DeBoer, last weekend’s 37-34 victory at then-No. 6 Oregon is already being called a program-defining victory.

And next week, the Huskies will travel to Pullman, Wash., to play rival Washington State in the Apple Cup.

So is there a chance No. 17 Washington (8-2, 5-2 Pac-12) could overlook lowly Colorado (1-9, 1-6) when the teams meet Saturday in Seattle?

“That’s always the concern, right? No matter who you are, big game and then everything that Colorado’s been through,” DeBoer said. “A few weeks back we went on a two-game losing streak and we’re going to learn from those games just like we have the wins as well. We’ve got to be ready. We’ve got a lot riding on the season as far as the opportunities that could present themselves. Before we think about the last week of the season, we’ve got to make sure we’re focused on Colorado.”

While DeBoer wasn’t around, it’s likely most of his players remember last year’s trip to Colorado. Needing a victory to keep their bowl hopes alive, the Huskies lost 20-17 despite outgaining the Buffaloes 426-183. Washington was just 2 of 14 on third downs and committed four turnovers.

Of course, that UW team didn’t have Michael Penix Jr. at quarterback.

Penix, a transfer from Indiana who played under DeBoer in 2019 when he was the Hoosiers’ offensive coordinator, leads the nation with 3,640 yards passing. He is completing 67.1 percent of his attempts with 25 touchdowns and just six interceptions.

“Man, Coach DeBoer … I thank him every single day,” said Penix, who threw for 408 yards and two touchdowns last week against the Ducks. “He’s a guy that always believed in me since he’s known me. Him trusting me, not worrying about my past with injuries and trusting I’ll come out here and be able to lead this team to great heights, I thank him all the time.

“I love Coach DeBoer. I’m definitely in the right place. I’m glad I chose here and I look forward to continuing to make memories here.”

The Buffaloes are coming off a 55-17 loss last Friday at then-No. 8 Southern California.

After winning their first game under interim coach Mike Sanford, 20-13 in overtime against visiting California, the Buffaloes have dropped four in a row by an average margin of 29.5 points.

“We’re living in the present, we’re making everything about the players,” said Sanford, who took over after Karl Dorrell was fired Oct. 2. “But obviously, you get down towards the end of it and all of a sudden, it’s obviously very clear that we’re not in the postseason — there’s no bowl opportunities — and you have to really wake up every day and even as a staff, even myself as the head coach, you’ve got to really stay truly in the present.”

Colorado ranks last in the conference in both offense and defense. The Buffaloes are 124th of 131 FBS teams in total offense with 298.7 yards per game and 129th in total defense, yielding 488.0 yards.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA; Southern California Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) throws against the Colorado Buffaloes during the first half at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Caleb Williams’ 5 TDs power No. 8 USC past Colorado

Behind three touchdowns passing and two rushing from quarterback Caleb Williams, eighth-ranked USC overcame a sluggish start Friday against Pac-12 Conference counterpart Colorado, remaining perfect all-time against the Buffaloes with a 55-17 rout in Los Angeles.

The Trojans (9-1, 7-1 Pac-12) improved to 16-0 all-time against Colorado and continued their best start since the 2008 season — but endured a rocky start to get there.

USC’s offense — which began the night averaging 41 points per game and more than 10 points in opening quarters — was shut out in the first period on Friday.

The Trojans’ lone points came when Tuli Tuipulotu and Tyrone Taleni sacked Colorado quarterback J.T. Shrout in the end zone, effectively nullifying a Buffaloes’ interception of Williams. Nikko Reed’s pick accounted for just the second interception Williams has thrown all season.

Colorado (1-9, 1-6) led 3-2 going into the second quarter thanks to a 28-yard field goal by Cole Becker, the culmination of a 12-play, 72-yard drive that included a fourth-down conversion and a 37-yard Alex Fontenot run.

USC then seized control in the second quarter.

Williams rushed for a pair of touchdowns in the period, both on cleverly executed run-pass option keepers, and hooked up with former Buffaloes player Brenden Rice on a 32-yard scoring pass. The Trojans deluged Colorado with 24 points in the quarter to put the game away by halftime.

The period was not all good for USC, however. Running back Travis Dye — second in the Pac-12 in rushing heading into Week 11 — was carted off the field minutes before halftime with an apparent leg injury. He returned to the sidelines on crutches in the third quarter.

Filling in for Dye, Austin Jones rushed for 74 yards on 11 carries and scored a third-quarter touchdown on a 12-yard pass from Williams.

Jones’ score put an exclamation point on the win after Tahj Washington quashed any hope of Colorado comeback. The Buffaloes showed some life, pulling to within 26-10 on Fontenot’s 3-yard touchdown run shortly after halftime, but Washington broke a 61-yard scoring reception less than a minute later to slam the door.

Williams finished 14-of-26 for 268 yards. Fontenot led all ball-carriers with 108 yards on 20 attempts.

–Field Level Media

Nov 5, 2022; Los Angeles, California, USA;  USC Trojans quarterback Caleb Williams (13) looks to a pass during the second quarter against the California Golden Bears at United Airlines Field at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kiyoshi Mio-USA TODAY Sports

No. 8 USC looks to remain perfect in all-time series with Colorado

Matching its best start since the 2008 season, No. 8 USC looks to remain in the conversation for the College Football Playoff when it hosts Pac-12 Conference counterpart Colorado on Friday in Los Angeles.

The Trojans (8-1, 6-1 Pac-12) rode quarterback Caleb Williams’ five total touchdowns — four passing and one rushing — and an early cushion to overcome defensive miscues in a 41-35 defeat of Cal last week.

The win marked USC’s third consecutive game scoring at least 41 points, bumping its season average to 41 points per game — seventh-best in the nation — but was also the Trojans’ third straight contest yielding at least 35 points.

USC gave up 43 points in a one-point loss at Utah on Oct. 15, and 37 in an eight-point win Oct. 29 at Arizona.

“We do a lot of great things, a lot of the time. It’s just about doing it every single play,” Trojans linebacker Shane Lee said during Tuesday’s media availability. “(Defensive coordinator Alex Grinch) always challenges us to look at ourselves and see what we can do better … That’s what you have to do if you want to get better and be a part of team: Be critical of yourself.”

The USC defense has excelled at generating turnovers, boasting 18 through nine games. Coupled with Williams’ savvy play at quarterback — he has thrown 28 touchdown passes against one interception — the Trojans enjoy the nation’s best turnover margin at plus-16 for the season.

Colorado (1-8, 1-5) will try to jump-start its struggling offense, which ranks worst among all Power Five-conference teams and ahead of only Colorado State and Massachusetts in FBS scoring averages.

The Buffs are producing 15.6 points per game, backsliding after a promising, 34-point effort in an Oct. 29 loss to Arizona State. Colorado managed 10 points in a 39-point loss to Oregon last week.

The Buffs have never beaten USC in program history, a streak encompassing 15 games and dating back to 1927. Since Colorado joined the Pac-12 in 2011, the Trojans have won the 10 meetings by an average of 17.4 points per game — though three of the last six were decided by four points or fewer.

Colorado running back Anthony Hankerson told the Daily Camera that USC is a “good team, but they suit up pads just like us.”

“They bleed just like how we bleed and it’s football,” Hankerson said. “Anybody could win and you don’t have to be the best team, but as long as you’re the best team that day when you play, you’re good.”

The Buffs will have to avoid giving up possessions to have hope of an upset. Their 18 giveaways rank Colorado among the most turnover-prone teams in the country.

J.T. Shrout — Colorado’s season-opener at starting quarterback but sidelined in conference games against UCLA and Arizona while freshman Owen McCown started — captained the Buffs down the stretch of their lone win, Oct. 22 in overtime against Cal.

For the season, however, Shrout has thrown as many interceptions as touchdowns with six each.

–Field Level Media

Oct 29, 2022; Berkeley, California, USA;  Oregon quarterback Bo Nix (10) runs the ball against The California Golden Bears during the second quarter at FTX Field at California Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

No. 8 Oregon can stay unbeaten in Pac-12 vs. Colorado

Oregon’s seven straight wins have the Ducks ranked No. 8 in the first College Football Playoff rankings of the 2022 season, and they’ll be heavy favorites to make it eight against Colorado in a matchup of the top and bottom teams in the Pac-12 Saturday afternoon in Boulder, Colo.

Oregon (7-1, 5-0 Pac-12) might need the style points from a blowout win just to keep pace for a shot at a top-four spot in the CFP. But there is no overlooking the Buffaloes (1-7, 1-4) for the Ducks to get to the Pac-12 championship game, and perhaps even more success.

The Ducks are lighting up the scoreboard on offense. Since a 49-3 loss to now-CFP No. 3 Georgia to open the season, Oregon has not lost and has scored no fewer than 41 points in each of its seven straight wins.

Oregon has won 27 straight games when the Ducks scored 40 or more points. The Ducks have totaled 500 or more yards of offense in five straight games and have given up just one sack this season.

Quarterback Bo Nix leads the way on offense. He has three games with three rushing touchdowns, leads the conference in rushing touchdowns with 11 and has thrown 20 touchdown passes.

Oregon’s offense averages 525.8 yards per game to lead the Pac-12. Conversely, Colorado is last in the league in total offense at 295.3 yards per game.

Defensive back Christian Gonzalez, who was a top player for Colorado in his two seasons there before transferring to Oregon prior to this season, had eight tackles and blocked a field goal last weekend at Cal. Gonzalez will face his former team Saturday.

“We’re going to celebrate our wins, but as an offense and as a defense there’s things we’ve got to work on,” Gonzalez said, per Oregon’s athletics website. “We can finish out a game better as a defense. It’s just getting back to work, being humble and hungry.”

Colorado will face its third top-12 program of the season in Oregon, as TCU and UCLA have risen to Nos. 7 and 12, respectively. The Buffaloes still have at least two more current top-25 opponents on their schedule, Southern California and Utah.

In a 42-34 home loss to Arizona State last week, Colorado scored a season-high 34 points. Jordyn Tyson had an 88-yard punt return for a score and caught a 58-yard touchdown pass for the Buffaloes.

Deion Smith rushed for 111 yards, a career high.

Defensively, Colorado struggled in pass coverage against the Sun Devils and were often victimized by big plays. Arizona State had 15 plays in which it gained at least 10 rushing yards or at least 15 yards on a pass completion.

“Our offense goes and has a tremendous drive, the defense has to get a stop,” Colorado interim head coach Mike Sanford said via the team website. “Those are the things I believe we’re going to piece together throughout the course of these next four weeks.”

–Field Level Media

Colorado head coach Mike Sanford Jr. talks to players during the third quarter against Oregon State at Reser Stadium in Corvallis, Ore. on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022.

Ncaa Football Colorado At Oregon State 1900

Arizona State, Colorado seek bounce-back wins

Arizona State and Colorado, teams with interim head coaches, will face each other in Boulder, Colo., on Saturday night, both coming off losses after stirring wins in their previous games.

The Buffaloes (1-6, 1-3 Pac-12) lost at Oregon State 42-9 last week after rallying to beat Cal 20-13 in overtime the week before at Boulder.

The win over the Golden Bears was Colorado’s first under Mike Sanford, who replaced the fired Karl Dorrell on Oct. 2.

Arizona State (2-5, 1-3) came up short at Stanford 15-14 last week following its 45-38 upset of then-No. 21 Washington at Tempe, Ariz., on Oct. 8.

That was the first win for Shaun Aguano in place of Herm Edwards, who was fired Sept. 18.

Backup quarterback Trenton Bourguet replaced Emory Jones (concussion) and led the Sun Devils to the win over the Huskies.

Bourguet, a former walk-on, completed 15 of 21 pass attempts for 182 yards and three touchdowns.

Jones played against Stanford but was unable to lead the Sun Devils on a scoring drive in the second half.

The lack of production has led Aguano to open the starting QB competition for the game at Colorado between Bourguet and Jones, who was 14 of 25 for 227 yards and a touchdown, with one interception, against Stanford.

“Going forward, it’s an open competition, a true open competition for both of those guys,” Aguano said. “I still will say this: I’m going to pick the best guy that will get us that win.”

Sanford said the Buffaloes remain confident despite the blowout loss to the Beavers.

“We’ve got to learn from these,” he said. “I don’t think that’s a locker room that’s looking at this and saying, ‘Hey, same old, same old.’ I think there’s a lot of fight and a lot of belief.”

Colorado rushed for only 84 yards on 28 carries vs. Oregon State, and J.T. Shrout completed 13 of 29 passes for 206 yards, with two interceptions and no touchdowns.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2022; Corvallis, Oregon, USA; Oregon State Beavers quarterback Ben Gulbranson (17) looks to throw during the first half Washington State Cougars at Reser Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Soobum Im-USA TODAY Sports

Damien Martinez (3 TDs), Oregon State pound Colorado

Damien Martinez rushed for 178 yards and three touchdowns and Ben Gulbranson was 14-for-22 passing for 202 yards and two scores as Oregon State beat Colorado 42-9 in Corvallis, Ore., on Saturday night.

Silas Bolden and Jack Velling each caught a touchdown pass for Oregon State (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12 Conference).

Jayle Sacks rushed for 50 yards and a touchdown and J.T. Shrout was 13-for-29 passing for 206 yards with two interceptions for the Buffaloes (1-6, 1-3).

The Beavers built an early lead they never relinquished. After fumbling on their first drive, they recovered a Colorado fumble near midfield. Oregon State used nine plays to go 40 yards, capped by a four-yard TD run by Martinez with 8:09 left in the first.

The Beavers forced a punt on the ensuing Buffaloes possession, covered 82 yards on 11 plays and went ahead 14-0 when Gulbranson hit Bolden with a 16-yard touchdown pass with 13:30 left in the half.

Cole Becker kicked a 44-yard field goal to put Colorado on the board, but Martinez ran it in from three yards out to give Oregon State a 21-3 halftime lead.

The Beavers got the kickoff to start the third quarter and wasted little time in extending their lead. Three plays put them on their own 40 before Gulbranson hit Velling with a 60-yard TD pass to make it 28-3.

Oregon State added to the lead on the next snap from scrimmage when Alex Austin intercepted Shrout and returned it 40 yards for touchdown just 11 seconds after Velling’s TD.

The teams traded punts before the Buffaloes put together their best drive (80 yards in nine plays), aided by two pass interference penalties on the Beavers. The second gave Colorado the ball at the Oregon State 2, and Stacks ran it in two plays later to make it 35-9.

Oregon State responded with an 87-yard drive, with Martinez rushing for 77 of the yards and running it in from four yards out with 7:38 left.

–Field Level Media