Sep 24, 2022; Athens, Georgia, USA; Kent State Golden Flashes head coach Sean Lewis on the field during a time out against the Georgia Bulldogs during the second half at Sanford Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Dale Zanine-USA TODAY Sports

Reports: San Diego State hires Sean Lewis as head coach

Former Colorado offensive coordinator Sean Lewis will be San Diego State’s next head coach, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday night.

Lewis will take over for Brady Hoke, who retired.

Following the Buffaloes’ 28-16 loss to UCLA on Oct. 28, the 37-year-old Lewis was stripped of his offensive play-calling abilities. Colorado coach Deion Sanders turned to Pat Shurmur, an offensive analyst, for the team’s final four games of the season.

The Buffaloes went 0-4 and averaged 20.3 points per game with Shurmur calling the shots. Colorado finished the season 4-8.

“Sean is a good man. I think he’s a good play-caller,” Sanders said after making the move to Shurmur. “We just needed change at the time. We just needed to try something else at the time, and that’s what we did.”

Lewis was Kent State’s head coach from 2018-22 before joining the Buffaloes. The Golden Flashes went 24-31 and made two bowl appearances during his tenure.

Prior to his time at Kent State, Lewis served as the co-offensive coordinator at Bowling Green (2015) and Syracuse (2016-17).

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders (2) at the line of scrimmage in the first half against the Arizona Wildcats at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado QB Shedeur Sanders dealing with back fracture

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders is dealing with “a fracture in his back” after being sacked 52 times this season, according to his brother.

Deion Sanders Jr. announced the news in a video late Sunday on his YouTube channel.

Their father, Pro Football Hall of Famer Deion Sanders, finished 4-8 in his first season as head coach of the Buffaloes.

Shedeur Sanders started the first 11 games before sitting out Saturday’s season-ending 23-17 loss at Utah with arm and ankle injuries.

“It’s crazy because I feel good, bro,” Shedeur told Deion Jr. in the video. “But when I start running for real, it’s like the idea is like, ‘Ah, I feel good,’ but realistically … you can’t. I can’t even throw right now.”

Shedeur Sanders, who followed his dad from Jackson State, completed 69.3 percent of his passes for 3,230 yards with 27 touchdowns and three interceptions this season. He also rushed for four scores.

Sanders’ 52 sacks were the most in the nation this season. The NCAA single-season record is 60, set by Pittsburgh’s Tino Sunseri in 2011.

–Field Level Media

Nov 25, 2023; Salt Lake City, Utah, USA; Colorado Buffaloes athlete Travis Hunter (12) dives for a catch in the end zone in front of Utah Utes cornerback Zemaiah Vaughn (5) at Rice-Eccles Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Christopher Creveling-USA TODAY Sports

Fifth-string QB Luke Bottari leads Utah over Colorado

Luke Bottari, a senior walk-on who began the season fifth on the quarterback depth chart, rushed for two touchdowns to spark Utah to a 23-17 victory over Colorado on Saturday afternoon in Salt Lake City.

Jaylon Glover rushed for 107 yards on 17 carries and former Colorado kicker Cole Becker booted three field goals as the Utes (8-4, 5-4 Pac-12) won after back-to-back losses.

Ryan Staub started at QB for Colorado (4-8, 1-8), throwing for 195 yards and a touchdown on 17-for-24 passing in the Buffaloes’ sixth consecutive defeat.

Colorado only mustered 262 yards in the final game of a season that started out with great promise in Deion Sanders’ first season as head coach.

While Bottari completed 6 of 10 passes for 61 yards, the Utes rushing attack and defense chipped in. Utah rushed for 268 yards and made several key first downs on a late drive to clinch the win after the Buffaloes pulled within a touchdown midway through the fourth quarter.

It was the final Pac-12 game for the two programs who will join the Big 12 next season.

Both teams had to rely on backup quarterbacks, with Utah’s Bryson Barnes and Colorado’s Shedeur Saunders being sidelined due to health issues.

Staub connected with Travis Hunter for an 18-yard scoring strike with 7:31 remaining to keep the Buffaloes within striking distance.

Bottari and the Utes retained possession for the rest of the time on a 12-play, 44-yard drive, which included a fourth-down conversion.

The Utes made a big defensive play to start the game as Connor O’Toole sacked Staub and forced a fumble, which Van Fillinger recovered.

Moments later, Bottari scored his first college touchdown on a 2-yard QB keeper for a 7-0 lead.

Becker then drilled a 34-yard field goal to extend Utah’s lead to 10-0 early in the second quarter.

Three minutes later, Colorado cut the lead to 10-7 when Jimmy Horn Jr. took a backwards pass and tossed it to Dylan Edwards for a 30-yard touchdown reception on a trick play.

After the teams exchanged field goals, Bottari scored another rushing TD from 1 yard out for a 20-10 Utah lead midway through the third. Becker’s third field goal put the Utes up by 13 with 11:31 to play in the game.

–Field Level Media

Jun 15, 2022; Ashburn, Virginia, USA; Washington Commanders defensive end Montez Sweat (90) talks with special consultant and NFL Hall of Fame member Warren Sapp (R) on day two of minicamp at The Park. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado’s Deion Sanders set to add Warren Sapp to staff

Warren Sapp is expected to join the coaching staff of fellow Pro Football Hall of Fame member Deion Sanders at Colorado in 2024.

Sanders said he was adding Sapp during his weekly coaching show this week.

“I’m excited about Coach Sapp,” Sanders said Wednesday. “He’s going to be invaluable to what he brings to the table … as far as the recruits as well, they’re going to love him.”

Sapp, who played defensive tackle in the NFL, spent time with the Colorado program in the 2023 season in an unofficial role. Sanders did not indicate what position Sapp, 50, would fill.

Colorado began the first season of Sanders’ coaching tenure with a 3-0 record but has lost five straight games to fall to 4-7, with just one win in the Pac-12. The Buffaloes will close their season on Saturday at Utah (7-4).

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; Seattle, Washington, USA; Utah Utes head coach Kyle Whittingham during the first half against the Washington Huskies at Alaska Airlines Field at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

Utah banged up, Colorado in free fall entering finale

Season-ending injuries to numerous key players have forced Utah to dig deep into the depth chart as the regular season winds down.

The Utes (7-4, 4-4 Pac-12) are thin at several positions going into their conference finale against Colorado in Salt Lake City on Saturday. Utah lost top defensive end Jonah Elliss to a season-ending injury before last week’s 42-18 loss to Arizona.

Karene Reid, a starting linebacker, and starting safety Cole Bishop were also out against the Wildcats. Both are questionable against the Buffaloes.

Without three key defensive leaders, Utah sputtered against Arizona. The Utes fell behind 28-0 after the first play of the second quarter and saw a six-game winning streak in the series end.

“We’ve got to accept the fact that they outplayed us, outcoached us and that’s that,” Utah coach Kyle Whittingham said.

Nothing except bragging rights will be at stake between the two Rocky Mountain rivals. The Utes are assured a bowl game and Colorado will be spending the postseason at home after failing to qualify for a bowl.

The Buffaloes (4-7, 1-7) unraveled after a 3-0 start. Their struggles reached a new low in a 56-14 loss to Washington State last week. The Cougars scored touchdowns off a pair of fumble returns and a kickoff return to blow the game open.

Five of Colorado’s previous six games had been decided by seven points or less. That wasn’t in the cards against Washington State after Shedeur Sanders was knocked out with an early injury. Sanders, who was sacked four times by the Cougars, has been sacked 52 times this season.

“You give up two fumble returns for touchdowns and a kickoff return for a touchdown, that’s not the recipe for a win,” Colorado coach Deion Sanders said.
“They executed early and executed often, and when they got Shedeur out of the game, it was tough sledding from then on.”

Utah has won six straight games against Colorado and leads the rivalry series 34-32-3.

–Field Level Media

Nov 17, 2023; Pullman, Washington, USA; Colorado Buffaloes running back Sy'veon Wilkerson (36) stiff arms Washington State Cougars linebacker Taariq Al-Uqdah (18) in the first half at Gesa Field at Martin Stadium. Mandatory Credit: James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Wazzu thrashes Colorado, ends Buffaloes’ bowl hopes

Cameron Ward ran for two touchdowns and threw for two more while defensive lineman Brennan Jackson returned two fumbles for touchdowns as Washington State embarrassed Colorado 56-14 on Friday in Pullman, Wash.

Ward completed 18 of 30 passes for 288 yards to lead the Cougars (5-6, 2-6 Pac-12). Josh Kelly caught six passes for 130 yards for Washington State, which must win at No. 5 Washington next week to reach six wins and gain bowl eligibility.

Colorado (4-7, 1-7) lost for the seventh time in eight games and won’t appear in a bowl in coach Deion Sanders’ first season. The Buffaloes lost starting quarterback Shedeur Sanders to an arm injury in the second quarter when he was hit hard trying to corral a botched snap. He was 6 of 10 for 86 yards and a 45-yard touchdown pass to Travis Hunter before leaving the game.

Colorado used two other quarterbacks after Sanders’ departure, but they couldn’t move the offense, either. The Cougars held the Buffaloes to 255 total yards and recorded five sacks.

Lincoln Victor scored on a 15-yard run just over six minutes into the game to get Washington State on the board. Jackson picked up a Sanders fumble at the 5:14 mark and rumbled 40 yards for a 14-0 lead.

After Sanders and Hunter connected for their score, Leyton Smithson made it 21-7 Cougars by slaloming through Colorado’s kickoff coverage for a 98-yard touchdown return.

Ward turned the game into a blowout in the second quarter. After finding Nakia Watson for a 23-yard scoring strike, Ward added touchdown runs of 1 and 2 yards in the final four minutes for an insurmountable 42-7 lead entering halftime.

In the third quarter, Ward hit Kyle Williams on a go route behind Hunter for a 34-yard scoring strike. Jackson’s 74-yard scoop and score pushed the lead to a 56-7 cushion with 5:23 remaining in the third.

The Buffaloes tacked on a final touchdown in the fourth quarter on Sy’veon Wilkerson’s 1-yard run.

–Field Level Media

Nov 11, 2023; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders before the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Prime relocation: Colorado’s Deion Sanders dodges A&M question

Responding to a question regarding the Texas A&M coaching vacancy, Colorado coach Deion Sanders said on Tuesday he wasn’t thinking about any openings, instead focusing on helping the struggling Buffaloes rebound.

“Man, I want to win,” Sanders told reporters. “I want to win a game. So you think I really do sit down and think about that kind of stuff? Like what strikes me about that, about myself, that you guys really think I sit down and say, ‘Oh, yeah, (ESPN personality) Stephen A. (Smith), yeah.’ C’mon, c’mon. I’m good. Like, we gotta win. Let’s focus on this week.”

After gaining national coverage following a 3-0 start, Colorado has lost six of seven and must win its final two games, starting Friday night at Washington State, to become bowl-eligible.

However, four of the Buffaloes’ six losses have been by seven points or fewer, a marked improvement over last season’s 1-11 campaign.

Despite the turnaround, recruits are concerned that Sanders won’t stay long at Colorado, including one recruit in Florida who recently withdrew his commitment to the program in 2025.

“I tell them what I told them when I came: I’m here, I’m here,” Sanders said when asked what he would tell the parents of potential recruits. “I tell ‘em my mother’s here. My sister’s here. My dog is here. My daughter’s here. Three of my sons are here. My other daughter comes to darn near every home game. We’re here. I get mail here… I pay taxes here… I’m here. I don’t hear that. Maybe our recruiting staff hears it, but I don’t hear it. I’m too honest with parents. I’m gonna tell ‘em the truth.”

Sanders has three children who are student-athletes at Colorado, having transferred from Jackson State, where he previously coached. If his children were to transfer again, they would possibly have to sit out a season.

Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders would be a senior next fall, if he doesn’t enter the 2024 NFL Draft. His brother Shilo, who graduated from Jackson State after transferring from South Carolina, has one year of eligibility remaining. Their sister Shelomi is a redshirt freshman walk-on on Colorado’s women’s basketball team.

Texas A&M fired coach Jimbo Fisher on Sunday and will pay him a $77 million buyout.

–Field Level Media

Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders before the game against the Arizona Wildcats at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado, Washington St. racing to escape nosedive

Back in September, a primetime matchup between Colorado and Washington State would have been off the charts.

The Buffaloes, under first-year coach Deion Sanders, won their first three games of the season and were ranked 18th in the Top 25.

The Cougars opened with four straight victories and reached No. 13.

Those good times are long gone and Friday night in Pullman, Wash., the Buffaloes and Cougars meet to see who can escape the Pacific-12 Conference cellar.

Colorado (4-6 overall, 1-6 Pac-12) has lost four games in a row and six of seven, the lone victory in that span a 27-24 decision against Arizona State.

Washington State (4-6, 1-6) has dropped six in a row.

Both teams came close to snapping out of their downturns last week but couldn’t eject the continued nosedive.

The Buffaloes took a seven-point lead into the fourth quarter at home before losing 34-31 to Arizona.

“We’re so close is what I told the team, but yet so far,” Sanders said. “We just simply, truly don’t know how to win yet and it’s not for lack of effort, not for lack of coaching with the staff and the support staff. … Everybody around is doing a phenomenal job. We just can’t get over that hump.”

Quarterback Shedeur Sanders, the coach’s son, was 22 of 35 for 262 yards and two touchdowns and also ran for a score.

Despite being banged up often while being sacked 48 times this season, the younger Sanders has thrown for 3,144 yards and 26 touchdowns, just shy of Sefo Liufau’s school records of 3,200 yards and 28 TDs set in 2014.

But he seems more focused on helping the Buffaloes win their final two regular-season games to become bowl eligible.

“You can’t go in a dark tunnel when you’re having a season like this because nothing will ever be perfect in life,” said Sanders, who was 23-3 as the starting QB at Jackson State before transferring to Colorado. “So you’ve got to take the good, you’ve got to take the bad. So that’s what I take from all this … is just keep being consistent, keep playing the game, keep doing my job, keep doing everything we could do to be able to have success.”

The Cougars nearly rallied from an 18-point deficit in the fourth quarter against host California on Saturday, but kicker Dean Janikowski missed a 48-yard field-goal attempt with 50 seconds remaining in a 42-39 defeat.

“Saturday was just another snapshot into our season and the past six games,” Cougars coach Jake Dickert said. “We haven’t won the ball battle, the turnover margin. When you don’t do that, it’s hard to win games in this league. … It’s a conglomerate of things. Unfortunately, finding different ways to lose is very frustrating. We’re still working on getting that corrected.”

WSU quarterback Cameron Ward threw for 358 yards and three touchdowns but lost three fumbles – two of which were returned for scores.

“I feel like I’ve grown in ball security, especially these two years once I first got here to Washington State,” Ward said, “but it showed up again (Saturday) that it’s something that I gotta continuously work on. Any time you put your team in a situation like I did, it’s hard to fight out of, and we did. We did end up doing that. But we didn’t execute enough plays as a whole to win this game.”

–Field Level Media

Nov 4, 2023; Boulder, Colorado, USA; Oregon State Beavers wide receiver Silas Bolden (7) makes a catch against the Colorado Buffaloes at Folsom Field. Mandatory Credit: Chet Strange-USA TODAY Sports

No. 16 Oregon State holds off late charge from Colorado

DJ Uiagalelei threw for 223 yards and accounted for two touchdowns on Saturday night as No. 16 Oregon State held off a late Colorado rally for a 26-19 Pac-12 Conference win in Boulder, Colo.

The Beavers (7-2, 4-2 Pac-12) led 23-5 after Atticus Sappington converted a 22-yard field goal with 13:57 left in the game, but Shedeur Sanders led the Buffs’ last-ditch charge.

Sanders sandwiched Sappington’s 41-yard field goal with touchdown passes of 15 and 11 yards to Travis Hunter and Anthony Hankerson, respectively, the latter score cutting the deficit to seven with 1:42 remaining.

However, Oregon State sealed the outcome when Damien Martinez, who rushed for 115 yards on 21 carries, gained 10 yards and a first down in the last 90 seconds.

Sanders completed 24 of 39 passes for 245 yards while under constant pressure. He was sacked four times and hurried on multiple occasions. Hunter caught eight passes for 98 yards while recording two tackles and breaking up a pass as a cornerback.

Colorado (4-5, 1-5) managed just 238 total yards of offense and 15 first downs en route to its fifth loss in six games. It rushed just 19 times for minus-7 yards.

Oregon State initiated the scoring with 1:26 left in the first quarter when backup quarterback Aidan Chiles ripped off a 23-yard touchdown run to cap a nine-play, 71-yard drive.

The Buffaloes got on the board with 7:35 left in the first half when Alejandro Mata kicked a 32-yard field goal. However, they had started the possession at the Oregon State 19 after a fumble recovery and couldn’t get a first down.

A major faux pas led to the Beavers scoring with 16 seconds remaining in the half. Stuck deep in its own territory, Colorado tried to mount a drive via the pass but instead went three-and-out. After a 28-yard punt return by Anthony Gould and a penalty on the Buffs set the visitors up at the Colorado 20, Uiagalelei hit Deshaun Fenwick with a 20-yard scoring strike for a 14-3 lead.

–Field Level Media

Oct 28, 2023; Pasadena, California, USA; Colorado Buffaloes head coach Deion Sanders talks with offensive tackle Kareem Harden (77) in the first half against the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Police recover some items linked to Rose Bowl theft

Some of the possessions, including jewelry, that Colorado football players reported stolen after last weekend’s loss to UCLA at the Rose Bowl have been recovered, Pasadena, Calif., police said.

In a statement issued Friday, police said the recovered items had been returned to the players, but the search continues for the rest of the stolen goods. The items were located upon the execution of a search warrant, and the suspects in the case are juveniles, according to police.

“The Pasadena Police Department would like to thank those who reported leads to our tip line,” the statement said. “The information and support are invaluable and play a crucial role in helping us ensure safety and security in our community. Our detectives worked diligently to follow up on all leads, which resulted in the quick execution of search warrants. The investigation will be ongoing.”

Earlier this week, Colorado head coach Deion Sanders called on the NCAA and the Rose Bowl venue itself to reimburse the players for their stolen jewelry and other items.

“NCAA, you do something about everything else,” Sanders said. “Do something about this one.”

Sanders said the Colorado program was putting together an accounting of all the items the players and staff said they lost.

“All that stuff should be replaced,” Sanders said. “This is the Rose Bowl. It’s at the grandaddy off them all, right? I’m sure grandaddy has some money. Grandpa should have some money to give these kids. I’m gonna have a list made out for these kids, and I know they’re gonna be truthful about what they lost so we can try to get that back for them. They may not be able to get the items back but we should be able to reimburse.”

–Field Level Media