The rivalry between Colorado and Colorado State has lived up to its reputation as a rough one, but on Saturday, the tension reached a new peak when Buffaloes star Travis Hunter was knocked out of the game with a nasty hit late in the first quarter.
It was in the first quarter of Colorado’s eventual 43-35 double overtime victory that the hit occurred. At the time, Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders had thrown an incomplete pass to a Hunter who was heavily covered. The play appeared to be over when Hunter was unable to come down with the ball, but then Colorado State defender Henry Blackburn swooped in with an exceedingly late hit that knocked the former five-star recruit out of the game.
Blackburn was called for unnecessary roughness, and cornerback Ayden Hector was penalized for interfering with the ball intended for Hunter.
Hunter was left lying down on the sideline and missed the rest of the drive as a result. However, he was able to return to the game as a cornerback by the time the Rams finished their next offensive drive.
However, during the third quarter, ESPN reported that Hunter was done for the night and had been rushed to a nearby hospital for evaluation.
This meant that the Buffaloes would be without their two-way star for the remainder of a game that was very close. After the game, Colorado coach Deion Sanders stated that he had been informed that Hunter could miss “a few weeks” due to his injury, but he did not disclose any other information regarding the nature of Hunter’s condition.
Sanders said this in his postgame news conference. “First thing I heard was that he would be out for a few weeks,” Sanders added. “I have no doubt that you told me that, but rest assured that we will do whatever it takes to look after him.”
Things were certainly different before Deion Sanders arrived, as evidenced by the fact that a dirty hit between Colorado and Colorado State would have attracted significantly more attention than it did the year before. This year, many of Colorado’s celebrity guests, such as Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Offset, took notice of Blackburn’s attack, while LeBron James voiced his indignation from his home in Ohio:
In the week preceding up to the game as well as during warm-ups, there was a lot of trash talking between the two teams involved in the intrastate rivalry. This led to the penalty being called.
Sanders was drawn in by some sharp statements that Colorado State head coach Jay Norvell made on Wednesday. Norvell said that he was “tired” of the attention that Colorado was receiving and that “When I talk to grownups, I take my hat and my glasses off.” These comments caught Sanders’ attention.
Sanders retorted by stating that Norvell’s actions made the competition “personal.” Shedeur, the man’s son, and Hunter, the player, both seemed to take that to heart before the game when they got into a pregame scrum with Colorado State players after a Rams player allegedly swatted a ball from Hunter. The incident occurred after the Rams player allegedly swatted the ball from Hunter.