Pair of picks highlights CU defense




The Gazette, Colorado Springs


BOULDER • Shilo Sanders glanced down at his phone and saw what time it was. It finally hit him. “It’s 1:06 (a.m.),” the Colorado safety said at a crowded postgame press conference after his team’s 43-35 comeback win over rival Colorado State, “I need to go home so I can wake up and go to church tomorrow.” It’s not something he does every week and especially after a late-night victory that didn’t allow him to leave Folsom Field until the wee hours Sunday morning, but he had a promise to keep. “‘Lord, if you give me a picksix today, I’ll go to church tomorrow,’” Sanders recalled saying pregame. Shortly before 9 p.m. on Saturday night — long before the Buffaloes and Rams needed two overtimes to settle an instant classic Rocky Mountain Showdown — the third of Deion Sanders’ five kids secured his spot in a church pew the next morning. His pick-six on CU’S second defensive possession of the game gave his team its first lead of the night. The Buffs held the lead for less than a minute in the first quarter and they wouldn’t get it back until the first overtime. They kept it for good on the final play of the game as fellow safety Trevor Woods intercepted a pass by CSU quarterback Brayden Fowler-nicolosi on fourthand-goal. It certainly wasn’t a perfect performance by any means for the Buffs defense. They allowed 499 total yards, including 367 through the air for Fowler-nicolosi, who made just his second career start on Saturday night. The Rams were able to use simple concepts over and over to beat the CU defense and control the time of possession. “It’s like, darn, don’t they know an under route is coming?” Coach Prime said. “Yeah, we knew that, too.” While the Buffs defense certainly looked a lot more like the unit that showed up in Week 1 against TCU than the one that set the tone last week against Nebraska, they still got the stops they needed to. Woods’ interception sealed the win and sent CU fans pouring onto the field, but Sanders’ early interception return for a touchdown was a special moment in its own right. While his brother, quarterback Shedeur, has been in the spotlight for weeks now, Shilo had yet to have his big play for the Buffs. After he perfectly read the play and jumped the route, cruising into the end zone for an 80yard score, Shilo got to enjoy the scene with his dad, who was sprinting down the sideline as the play unfolded. “That’s the most I’ve ran in years,” Coach Prime said with a laugh. “I didn’t even know I had it in me.” Aside from the fact that he plays in the secondary and wears the No. 21 that Deion made famous during his Hall of Fame NFL career, people often say that Shilo is the most like Coach Prime. The two have breakfast together on Monday mornings, Shilo says, and most times Shedeur doesn’t show, it’s just the two of them. Coach Prime often jokingly (or maybe he’s not really joking) ranks his five children based on what they’ve all been doing recently and what they’ve done for him. For obvious reasons, Shedeur is often near the top. But maybe after his two big plays on Saturday night — he also forced a fumble that CU would not have won without — Shilo has worked his way into contention for No. 1 son. “You know what? He is moving up,” Coach Prime said. “My kids’ rankings are tough. It’s a serious run right now.”