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Football: Colorado stuns No. 17 TCU 45-42

A record crowd at Amon G. Carter Stadium saw the Buffaloes upend the Horned Frogs in Week 1.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 02 Colorado at TCU Photo by Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

A record crowd was on hand at Amon G. Carter Stadium to watch the TCU football team kick off the 2023 season against the Colorado Buffaloes and new head coach Deion Sanders. In what became a track meet during the second half, TCU and Colorado combined for over 1,000 yards of total offense in the contest, but it was the Buffaloes who ultimately emerged victorious, stunning the Horned Frogs 45-42 and handing the defending national championship runner-ups a season-opening defeat.

TCU entered as three-touchdown favorites, but the Horned Frog defense was nonexistent throughout the day, as the Buffaloes saw four wide receivers eclipse 100 yards and quarterback Shedeur Sanders throw for 510 yards and four touchdowns. TCU (0-1) will look to bounce back next weekend, when the Horned Frogs hold another home contest in Fort Worth against Nicholls State on Saturday, Sept. 9 at 7 p.m.

Turnovers and penalties hurt the Horned Frogs throughout the afternoon. TCU committed 10 penalties for 76 yards and starting quarterback Chandler Morris tossed two red-zone interceptions that stalled potential scoring drives. The redshirt sophomore Morris had his ups and downs during the game, completing only 24-of-42 passes for 279 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions while adding a 19-yard rushing touchdown in the second half.

Running back Emani Bailey shined out of the backfield, however, rushing 14 times for 164 yards and paving the way for running back Trey Sanders, who took the ball for three rushing touchdowns in the game. Tight end Jared Wiley and wide receiver JP Richardson each totaled six receptions, with Wiley going for 69 yards and one touchdown while Richardson went for 63 yards. Minnesota transfer Dylan Wright added a 23-yard touchdown reception for the Horned Frogs, who finished with 541 yards of total offense.

While TCU’s offense was able to move the ball for most of the game, Colorado was even more efficient on the offensive side, with Sanders completing 38-of-47 passes as the Buffaloes carved the Horned Frog defense up in the short and intermediate-yardage areas. Despite rushing for only 55 yards, Colorado’s air attack was unstoppable, as four players including two-way star Travis Hunter exceeding 100 receiving yards. Running back Dylan Edwards was dynamic for the Buffaloes, catching five passes for 135 yards and three scores while rushing for 24 yards and another score.

Colorado finished with 565 yards of total offense and averaged 7 yards per play while going 9-for-15 on third down and 2-for-2 on fourth down. The Buffaloes only had one turnover, a fumble in the first half recovered by TCU safety Millard Bradford, and outpaced the Horned Frogs in time of possession.

Colorado held a 17-14 lead at halftime, with kicker Jace Feely booting a 49-yarder through the uprights during the final seconds of the second quarter. TCU blocked Feely’s first attempt of the afternoon, as linebacker Namdi Obiazor launched over the line for a critical special teams gem that kept points off the scoreboard for the Horned Frogs. TCU failed to convert on its lone field-goal attempt, however, with Griffin Kell missing a 42-yarder in the opening half.

On a hot and sunny afternoon with temperatures swirling around 100 degrees, both defenses struggled mightily to make stops during the second half, with each team scoring four touchdowns over the third and fourth quarters. Over 53,000 fans watched a thrilling finish, with TCU holding the lead on multiple occasions but Colorado answering at each turn. The Buffaloes sealed their win late in the fourth quarter, forcing TCU into a fourth-and-9 situation and tackling Wiley on a 7-yard reception short of the line to gain.