Deion Sanders gets no post-game questions about questionable play-calling on key late-game drive

If you’ve been paying any attention to this media outlet over the past month (and, if you have, thank you very much), you’ve noticed that I’m all in with the Deion Sanders experiment in Colorado.

It’s fun to watch. It has generated tremendous interest. And Deion is exactly the kind of coach a struggling NFL team should be looking to bring to its sideline with a blank check, even if Deion is fully committed to college football generally and Colorado University specifically.

But it’s not fair to get so caught up in the hype and the hoopla that real football subjects take a back seat to the extended and unlimited love fest for Coach Prime.

I watched all of Saturday’s game. Even when it was a blowout, I thought Colorado had a chance. And then, after quarterback Shedeur Sanders threw an NFL-quality, seeing-eye laser to freshman receiver Omarion Miller to cut the score to 48-34 with 11:55 to play, it was beginning to look a lot like overtime.

Next, the two teams traded possessions. USC drove into field goal range. A missed 38-yard kick gave Colorado the ball with 5:58 to play, first and 10 on their own 22. Although Colorado had no time outs, enough ticks remained to allow the Buffaloes to get down the field, score, kick off, try to get a stop, and then hope to force overtime before the quarter expired.

That’s when it got weird. Colorado offensive coordinator Sean Lewis called an inside run out of shotgun. It went nowhere. The clock kept going.

Throughout the drive, there was a lack of urgency. The clock kept going. Five total runs. The clock kept going. Five total passes. The clock kept going. There was never any real indication that Lewis even realized it was the fourth quarter, not the third.

By the time Colorado scored, making it 48-41, the Buffaloes had no choice but to attempt an onside kick. USC recovered. Game over.

When their access to Deion Sanders started, the reporters covering the game had the lowest of low-hanging fruit, falling at their feet. I found the full press conference. Watched it all. (Twice, just to be sure.) In more than 19 minutes of back and forth, there was not a single question about the clock management on the drive that cut the margin to seven.

It was the damnedest thing. Not one person asked the most obvious question.

And even if the (deserved) praise of Coach Prime has sparked the subtle beginnings of a personality cult in Boulder, it would have been very easy for someone to tiptoe toward the general topic of whether Sanders would have done anything differently on the final scoring drive.

Colorado had nothing to be ashamed of. They played well. They gave a top-10 team a scare. They dug deep once they fell behind by 27 points. But the mood in the press room was almost celebratory, as if no one wanted to rain on the close-but-no-cigar parade by pointing out that the potential victory stogie blew up in the team’s face, thanks to bad decisions made in the moment by the offensive coordinator.

Those questions are asked all the time. They are more than fair. Maybe no one wanted to be the one who pissed off Coach Prime. Maybe everyone thought someone else would ask such a basic, obvious question.

In the end, no one did. And so it remains to be seen what Deion thinks about the manner in which his chance to score a massive upset in dramatic fashion had been derailed by some of the most dunderheaded play-calling and time management that any team can display, at any level of football.

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