PULLMAN, Wash. – The toughness of Colorado quarterback Shedeur Sanders has carried him through a lot of games this season.
On Friday night, however, the junior quarterback took one too many hits to keep going.
Sanders set CU’s single-season passing record in a 56-14 loss to Washington State at Gesa Field, but left the game in the second quarter and didn’t return.
After the game, head coach Deion Sanders said his son had numbness in his hand after a first quarter hit. And then injured an ankle on the final play that knocked him out.
“The second time he got injured, we had an errant snap and they rolled up his ankle,” Coach Prime said. “That was it. He couldn’t grip the ball and his ankle (was hurt), so that took him out of the game. And the rest is history.”
It was the first time this season that Shedeur has missed plays due to injury, despite coming into the game as the most-sacked quarterback in the country.
Washington State had just 17 sacks in the first 10 games, but sacked Shedeur four times in the Buffaloes’ first 10 offensive plays.
On the fourth sack, with less than 6 minutes to play in the first quarter, Sanders was hit by the Cougars’ Ron Stone Jr. as he tried to throw and fumbled. Brennan Jackson picked up the ball and ran 40 yards for a WSU touchdown.
“He got hit in the forearm and he couldn’t really grip the ball and he couldn’t really feel the ball,” Coach Prime said.
Freshman Ryan Staub played the next series, but Shedeur returned for the following series. On the third play of that series, he threw a 45-yard touchdown pass to Travis Hunter, cutting the deficit to 14-7.
On that play, Sanders broke CU’s single-season passing record. He currently has 3,230 yards this season, breaking the mark of 3,200 by Sefo Liufau in 2014.
Sanders played two more series before leaving the game for good. On his final play, it was a bad snap, and he recovered the ball and was hit for a 5-yard loss.
It’s unclear how severe the injuries are or if Shedeur will be available for CU’s finale next week at Utah.
“Shedeur is not that kind of player that he wants to shut down,” Coach Prime said. “He wants to finish with his teammates, I’m pretty sure. I haven’t talked to him about it, but I’m pretty sure he wants to finish.”
After Shedeur went out, Staub finished the first half and CU turned to walk-on Gavin Kuld in the third quarter. After two turnovers by Kuld, Staub returned to the game.
Sanders went 6-for-10 for 86 yards, while Staub was 5-for-14 for 56 yards and Kuld went 1-for-3 for 22 yards.
For the first time this season, CU did not play in front of a sold-out stadium, snapping the school-record streak of sellouts at 10 (counting home and road games).
Attendance for Friday’s game at Gesa Field was 27,869, falling well short of the capacity of 32,952.
Prior to this year, the longest streak of sellouts for CU games was five, in 1996.
Going into this week, CU was one of only four teams nationally to play in front of a sold out stadium each week, joining Georgia, Notre Dame and Tennessee.
Washington State finished with three non-offensive touchdowns.
Jackson had two fumble returns for touchdowns, while Leyton Smithson had a 98-yard kickoff return.
It was the first time in more than 14 years that CU allowed three non-offensive touchdowns in the same game. The last time it happened was Oct. 20, 2009, against Texas.
Safety Trevor Woods, cornerback Omarion Cooper and kicker Jace Feely all missed the game for injuries or illness. … Shilo Sanders forced and recovered a WSU fumble in the second half. It was the fourth forced fumble of the season for Sanders, the most in the Pac-12. Nationally, Georgia Southern’s Isaac Walker (five) is the only player with more. … Mark Vassett had a punt that pinned WSU at its 3-yard line. It was the sixth time this season he’s pinned an opponent inside the 5, which is a school record.