Amidst all the excitement surrounding Deion Sanders and his undefeated Buffaloes at 3-0, they faced their most significant challenge when they traveled to Eugene to take on the 10th-ranked Oregon Ducks in their first Pac-12 matchup. Unfortunately for the Buffaloes, the Ducks displayed what it takes to be a genuine top-10 team, thoroughly dominating them from the opening snap and securing a convincing 42-6 victory. After the game, Deion Sanders admitted, “That’s a classic case of being outplayed. No excuses. Their coaching staff prepared their team exceptionally well, while we clearly fell short.”
Photo Cred: Sporting News
Oregon demonstrated their prowess on both offense and defense throughout the game. Their running game was unstoppable, exploiting massive gaps created by their offensive line as their running backs powered through any Buffaloes defenders in their path. Quarterback Bo Nix, in the initial stages of his Heisman Trophy campaign, continued to impress with a remarkable performance, completing 28 of 33 passes for 276 yards and contributing four total touchdowns (three passing, one rushing). Nix and star wide receiver Troy Franklin displayed incredible synergy, with Franklin accumulating eight receptions for 126 yards and two touchdowns.
Defensively, the Oregon pass rush wreaked havoc, relentlessly pressuring Shedeur Sanders and sacking him seven times. The Buffaloes’ struggle with pass protection persisted throughout the season, but the speed and strength of the Ducks’ front elevated the problem to new heights. When Sanders did manage to release the ball, the Oregon secondary effectively shut down CU’s receivers all day. Notably, Alabama transfer Khyree Jackson stood out for the Ducks, delivering multiple outstanding pass breakups in one-on-one coverage.
Photo Cred: College Football News
On the Buffaloes’ side, this game exposed a glaring weakness in their trenches. While they can hold their own in matchups against top teams in skill positions, their lack of size and strength on the interior was evident on Saturday. They surrendered 240 rushing yards at an average of over six yards per carry, a statistic that makes it incredibly challenging to compete against a top-tier team like Oregon. Sanders struggled to connect on explosive plays down the field, finishing the game with just 159 passing yards and one late touchdown pass to Michael Harrison.
The running game continued to be a struggle for the Buffaloes, who entered the game ranked 127th in the FBS in rushing offense. Their ground game woes persisted as they managed 40 yards against Oregon’s stout defense. The Buffaloes’ quarterback lamented, “We’re never satisfied when we can’t produce and open up the passing game. It comes down to understanding the reads and, personally, making better decisions.”
Photo Cred: CBS Sports
The absence of Travis Hunter, sidelined due to a lacerated liver sustained in the previous week’s game against Colorado State, was sorely felt by the Buffaloes. In his absence, Xavier Weaver put up a valiant effort with nine catches for 75 yards but left the game with an apparent ankle injury late in the fourth quarter. With more challenges ahead, the Buffaloes cannot afford further injuries. This weekend, they will host the reigning Heisman Trophy winner, Caleb Williams, and the 5th-ranked USC Trojans.