Arizona State falls just short of win over Coach Prime and Colorado
Oct 7, 2023, 11:12 PM | Updated: Oct 8, 2023, 7:07 pm
TEMPE — Arizona State (1-5) once again lost a winnable game Saturday and, this time, it came at the hands of “Coach Prime” Deion Sanders and the Colorado Buffaloes (4-2).
In the 27-24 loss at Mountain America Stadium, the Sun Devils did a solid job most of the game containing Buffaloes quarterback Shedeur Sanders. The ASU pass rush got after the Colorado quarterback early and often in the game, recording five sacks. Sanders also was not sharp at times, missing opportunities for potential scoring plays with errant throws.
ASU pass rusher Prince Dorbah, who had a game-high 2.5 sacks, spoke on the team’s ability to get after Sanders.
“I definitely felt like we did a lot of good things out there,” Dorbah said. “Overall I thought we did a great job executing.”
The Sun Devils got off to a good start offensively, taking advantage of a weak Colorado defense. They marched down the field on their opening drive, finishing off the drive with a one-yard touchdown run out of a wacky formation by quarterback Trenton Bourguet.
Trenton Bourguet takes the ball from under center and sneaks the ball for a touchdown in one of the stranger plays you'll see. ASU and Colorado are tied, 7-7. pic.twitter.com/XaZCo3zJg1
— Arizona Sports (@AZSports) October 7, 2023
After the first drive, the Sun Devils struggled to put points on the board. They only scored 10 more points before their final offensive possession of the game. ASU took a 17-14 lead into the locker room at halftime.
After neither team scored in the third quarter, the Sun Devils allowed Colorado to take a 24-17 lead early in the fourth quarter on a Javon Antonio nine-yard touchdown reception and an Alejandro Mata 42-yard field goal.
After a huge pass breakup on third down by ASU’s Shamari Simmons late in the fourth quarter, the Sun Devils received the ball back with 3:26 left in the game.
The offense from the first drive reappeared as the Sun Devils marched down the field. The drive culminated in a 15-yard touchdown pass from Bourguet to wide receiver Troy Omeire. ASU opted to go for the extra point and not try to take the lead with a 2-point conversion attempt. The point after try was good, leaving Colorado with one more shot at the win with 50 seconds left in the game.
Sanders finally connected with a receiver on a big play, hitting Antonio for a 43-yard gain. After another completion to Antonio for seven yards and two incompletions, the Buffaloes trotted out Mata for a 43-yard attempt. The field goal was good and the Sun Devils were unable to pull off a miracle.
— FOX College Football (@CFBONFOX) October 8, 2023
The loss to Colorado was ASU’s second in a row where it let a winnable game slip away and the third game in a row where the Sun Devils could have won if a few more plays had gone in their favor.
Last week, ASU would have beaten Cal if not for a too-many-men penalty that cost the Sun Devils a touchdown. Two weeks ago, ASU’s 42-28 loss to then-No. 5 USC was just a 27-21 Trojans lead heading into the fourth quarter.
Dillingham discussed his team’s improvement but not being quite there.
“The last two weeks, we’ve played winning football,” Dillingham said. “We’ve won every category but we haven’t won the game. And we really got to look at why and what guys should be on the field when the game is on the line.”
ASU heads into its bye week before traveling to Seattle to play Washington on Oct. 21.
Dillingham was asked about how he will be keeping the team together during the bye week despite the losses.
“That’s easy,” Dillingham said. “Are you competitive? Or for a lack of a better word, are you a loser? Are you going to go compete, go get better or are you going to quit? It’s very, very simple. So in terms of getting guys motivated to play, if we have to get guys motivated to go practice and motivated to go play, this is not the place for you.”