After beating the brakes off the hated Nebraska Cornhuskers, Deion “Coach Prime” Sanders and the Buffs will face their in-state rivals in a battle for the Centennial Cup. Coach Prime admitted last week that he was still getting up to speed when it comes to Colorado’s rivalry with Nebraska and he said the same this week when it comes to Jay Norvell’s Colorado State Rams.

“You just got me all hyped up about the Nebraska thing, that was a tremendous tradition,” said Coach Prime. “Now you want me to understand about the Rocky Mountain Showdown? You’ve got to give me some verbiage or something of literature to brief me.”

While Coach Prime is still settling into the in-state rivalry, he is certainly no stranger to rivalries and will have done his homework by the time Saturday’s game kicks off.

“This isn’t my first rodeo when it comes to [rivalries],” said Coach Prime. “The Falcons and the Saints were quite the showdown as well as the Cowboys and 49ers. There’s always some type of adversity that you have against someone in close proximity to you. I had two divorces which were a heck of a showdown too.”

Now that Colorado State head coach Jay Norvell has taken a shot at Coach Prime, the Rams are lined up in CU’s crosshairs.

“I sat on with ESPN today and I don’t care if they hear it in Boulder, I took my hat and my glasses off and said when I talk to grown-ups, I take my hat and glasses off,” said Norvell. “That’s what my mother taught me.”

Before Norvell’s comments on Wednesday, Coach Prime only had good things to say about Norvell at his weekly press conference on Tuesday.

“I haven’t met [Norvell] but I hear he’s a good man, I know he’s a great coach,” said Coach Prime. “He has those guys playing hard. I have the utmost respect for him, truly.”

Any hope of this weekend’s Rocky Mountain Showdown being a “trap” game for the Buffs has gone out the window after Norvell spoke at Wednesday’s CSU’s Coaches Show. Coach Norvell’s words seem even more bold when you consider the fact that the Rams are making a change at quarterback, redshirt freshman Brayden Fowler-Nicolosi will get the start over Clay Millen on Saturday.

Fowler-Nicolosi’s only career start came against Nevada last season for the Rams and he only completed 11/22 passes for 78 yards and two interceptions. After the performance that Colorado’s front seven put up against Nebraska last week, CU defensive line coach Nick Williams spoke after Wednesday’s practice and feels good about the opportunity in front of them this Saturday.

“We just recognized our problems,” said Coach Williams. “We’ve got a bunch of guys who self-critique themselves. They accept the coaching, we pointed out exactly what we weren’t good at and we attacked that in practice. We don’t have a bunch of soft guys who can’t take the coaching. We tell them exactly what it is we need to fix then we work towards that.”

Former Arkansas and Georgia Tech defensive end, Jordan Domineck also spoke after Wednesday’s practice echoing Coach Williams’ message that Colorado’s defensive front is better than what they showed against TCU.

“We are coming together as a defense and now that we’ve set that standard, we can show that we’re a dominant force,” Domineck said. “We can play up to our potential and we see what we can do at our best and play in unison. I feel like this was definitely a turning point of showing ourselves this is what we can do, this is what we’re going to be able to do and this is what we need to strive for week after week.”

Colorado’s defense seems to be hitting their stride as the non-conference schedule comes to an end this weekend but CU may be playing without their standout center, Van Wells, after he suffered an injury late against Nebraska. Coach Prime addressed Wells’ injury at Tuesday’s press conference.

“[He’s] healing,” said Coach Prime. “The thing about it, this is a game that’s next man up. [Hank Zilinskas] came in and did a great job and we didn’t miss a beat. We have the depth that we need, we could always use more. We’re okay at that position. But hopefully Van gets better soon.”

Despite the injury to Wells, Colorado is realtively healthy. Myles Slusher’s status remains unclear, he is not expected to play again this weekend. If the Buffs are able to build up enough of a lead on Saturday, it’s possible we could see multiple players make their Colorado debut including five-star freshman, Cormani McClain.

The Buffs are currently 24-point favorites over their local rival and now have plenty of motivation for Coach Prime to do his talking on the field in response to Coach Norvell.


Jake Schwanitz was born in Harlingen, Texas and was raised in Albuquerque, NM. Jake attended the University of New Mexico earning a bachelor's degree in journalism in 2016. He gained experience in analytics and scouting while working as a Football Video Scout at Sports Info Solutions in 2017 and 2018. Jake became an intern at DNVR in 2020 and became the full-time CU Buffs beat reporter for DNVR starting with the 2022 football season.

1 Comment

  1. This was so-o-o-o-o-o unnecessary! We want CU thinking about Oregon. Now that’s out the window.

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