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‘This is a little tough’: Coach Prime’s Colorado blow 29-0 lead in Stanford loss

Stanford safety Alaka'i Gilman, left, intercepts a pass intended for Colorado wide receiver Travis Hunter in the end zone in overtime of Friday night’s game in Boulder, Colorado.

Deion Sanders had an uneasy feeling, even up 29-0 at halftime. Maybe not the worst collapse in Colorado history about to unfold uneasy, but uneasy anyway.

Stanford coach Troy Taylor didn’t really change a thing, just watched as the Cardinal steadily staged the largest comeback in school history.

In a late-night thriller – the game started on Friday the 13th and finished on Saturday the 14th – this is a game that will be etched in the history of both programs.

Joshua Karty connected on a 31-yard field goal in the second overtime after tying the game in regulation, Elic Ayomanor had a school-record 294 yards receiving and Stanford rallied for a 46-43 victory over Colorado early Saturday.

COMEBACK COMPLETE ✅#GoStanford pic.twitter.com/pf4PZUsdfP

— Stanford Football (@StanfordFball) October 14, 2023

“It’s a special game for these guys to be down 29-nothing against a really good football team and just not quit,” Taylor said. “We’ll enjoy this one.”

Not so for the Buffaloes, who were reeling from the largest blown lead in school history. The old mark was 28, set at Kansas on 6 November 2010.

Sanders sensed something was amiss, too. Just a little bit of complacency creeping in.

“I talked to them about the old cliche people say – it’s 0-0 but that’s not true. It’s not 0-0, it’s 29-nothing,” the Colorado coach said. “I felt complacency going into the half because we stalled offensively, gave up some yardage as well. Just didn’t like how I felt going in at half-time. We come back out and here comes complacency. Here comes that team that I can’t stand, that you can’t stand it. You can’t understand how in the world that happens to us. But it did.”

Stanford safety Alaka’i Gilman picked off a floating Shedeur Sanders pass in the end zone to set the stage in the second OT for Karty, who also drilled a 46-yarder with no time left in regulation.

“That was a dumb play,” Shedeur Sanders said of his errant throw. “I just threw it up.”

The Cardinal (2-4, 1-3 Pac-12) trailed big at halftime, with QBs Justin Lamson and Ashton Daniels unable to light a spark.

That is, until the second half when Daniels – with Lamson contributing – led Stanford on eight straight scoring drives. The Cardinal had 408 of their 523 yards in the second half and OT.

Daniels threw for 396 yards and four TDs. Ayomanor had 13 catches – all after halftime – and three TDs, including one to tie up the first overtime – a remarkable catch at that – and another for 97 yards that changed the game. His 294 yards receiving broke the school record held by Troy Walters (278) against UCLA in 1999.

Ayomanor and the Cardinal left the sell-out crowd stunned.

“Just knowing that as a team you all persevered until the end,” Ayomanor said, “and kept fighting is a lot more satisfying than silencing the opposing team’s crowd.”

Colorado committed 17 penalties for 127 yards in a game that started at 8.20pm local time and ended at 12.21am. Coach Sanders was still trying to wrap his mind about what happened at his post-game news conference.

“From youth on, I don’t remember being up 29-0 and losing a football game,” Sanders said. “I really don’t. This is a little tough for me.”

Shedeur Sanders finished with 400 yards passing and five touchdowns and rushed for a team-leading 37 yards. He and the Buffaloes (4-3, 1-3) were clicking early, amassing a huge lead. It looked over.

It wasn’t.

“We have no choice but to go forward. That’s life,” Deion Sanders said. “We didn’t expect that. … We can’t sit down and have no pity party.”

Two-way standout Travis Hunter returned after missing three games following a late hit in the Colorado State game that sent him to the hospital with a lacerated liver. He had 13 catches for 140 yards and two scores. He also had five tackles.

“The plays he made kept us in the game,” Sanders said.

Leading into the game, Deion Sanders said on his weekly radio show that late kickoff games are the “stupidest thing ever invented”. This was the second late one for the Buffaloes this season that’s gone to double OT at Folsom Field. The first one went their way, with the Buffaloes rallying to beat Colorado State 43-35.

This time, it was Stanford that rallied.

“Right now, we’re not built for the moment,” Sanders said. “Some of our players aren’t built for the moment where they have to make a play.”

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