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Deion Sanders Puts His Faith Where His Football Is, CU Buffaloes Stun TCU in Opening Game

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Colorado head coach Deion Sanders during an NCAA college football game against TCU Saturday, Sept. 2, 2023, in Fort Worth, Texas. (AP Photo/LM Otero)

"Coach Prime" Deion Sanders, who is passionate about his Savior Jesus, glorified God following his unranked University of Colorado Buffaloes' unexpected 45-42 victory over 17th-ranked Texas Christian University on college football's opening day.

"First and foremost Lord, I thank you for giving me strength and energy," Sanders told sports writers after the 20.5-point-underdog Buffaloes – 75 percent of them recruited from historically black colleges and universities (HBCU), including his two sons – surprisingly beat the Horned Frogs in Fort Worth.

The former Dallas Cowboys Hall of Famer and first-year coach of the Pac-12 Buffaloes – after acknowledging God – repeatedly asked media members, "Do you believe?" 

"A wonderful game and beginning – intriguing, passionate purposeful," the winning coach – first at Jackson State and now in Boulder – said during a press conference, after visiting his sons Shedeur and Shilo in the visiting team's locker room.

Shedeur Sanders, who played at HBCU Jackson State last year under Coach Prime, passed 510 yards as Buffaloes quarterback on Saturday. "I'm tremendously proud of him," Sanders said.

Colorado was picked to finish 11th in the Pac-12, according to

Like a previous head football coach at CU, Bill McCartney, and leader of the national Christian men's movement Promise Keepers, Sanders is surrounded by spiritual warfare from anti-God forces that are as intense as the battle on the gridiron.

READ: NFL Legend Deion Sanders Targeted by Atheists: 'A Football Coach…Not a Pastor'

An atheist group, the Freedom From Religion Foundation, sent a letter to University of Colorado officials after Sanders arrived in Boulder to start his new job, stating "constitutional concerns" with the coach's faith and influence on football players.

A Christian legal advocacy group threw a penalty flag of its own.

First Liberty Institute is defending "Coach Prime's" religious speech, specifically his praise and glory to God after accepting CU's offer of employment.

Sanders was criticized for inviting staff members and coaches to pray before team meetings.

"Our attorneys point out that FFRF's warnings rely on an outdated legal test the Supreme Court disavowed in our Coach Kennedy case, Kennedy v. Bremerton. The Court's precedent in Kennedy made clear that public school employees may engage in religious expression and exercise," according to First Liberty.

Reading team stats from his debut as CU coach, Sanders noted some disappointments on defense but, offensively, he pointed to 100-yard performances by four Buffalo receivers and his son Shedeur's record-breaking 510 yards passing.

Like Sanders and the Buffaloes, TCU's head coach Sonny Dykes and the Horned Frogs also begin their first season together this year.

"They're coached greatly. I love him," Sanders said of Dykes, who turned around Southern Methodist University's football program. "I appreciate and respect him for what he's accomplished," added Sanders.

Taking questions from reporters, Sanders was eager to celebrate with players and his sons including Deion Sanders Jr.

A 14-year veteran of the NFL and a high-level player in college, Sanders' football coaching career began with kids ages 7 and up in Fort Worth, where he returned for a homecoming of sorts with CU players for their showdown with TCU on Sept. 2. 

One of those players, Dylan Edwards whom Sanders has praised from the age of 4, played phenomenally despite a popping-ankle injury his first time in a game-day Buffalo jersey.

"I'm like, no, God wouldn't have brought you this far for that. Watch what tremendous impact you're going to have in this game," Sanders told Edwards.

"Prime's" refrain "Do you believe?" is a response to media and critics who say he's undertaking unproven, never-before-done moves.

"When you see a confident black man sitting up there talking his talk and walking his walk coaching 75 percent African Americans in the locker room, that's kind of threatening," said Sanders, who nevertheless believes he's got a couple candidates for college football's highest honor, the Heisman Trophy.

"They don't like that, but guess what? We're going to do consistently what we do because I'm here, and I'm not going anywhere. I'm about to get comfortable in a minute," said Sanders.

His players, the City of Boulder, the university's front office, CU students, and college football fans are starting to believe because, said Sanders, he's leading a winning team and staff evidenced by the Buff's amazing victory over TCU.

Peace, love, joy, and victory are now constants in Coach Prime's life. Personal adversity during his college days and a suicide attempt while in the NFL – before giving the reins of his life to the Lord Jesus – have forged the man of God Sanders is today.

Before and after the game, Sanders' Dallas Cowboys and Hall of Fame teammates voiced belief in their friend, a proven coach and man of God.

Michael Irvin, a close confidant and brother in Jesus, rejoiced with Sanders after the victory, along with offensive powerhouse Emmitt Smith.

"Didn't I tell y'all God and Deion is about to deliver their greatest MASTERPIECE!!! mama there goes that MAN, he did it AGAIN!!!!!!! So PROUD of my great friend!'' Irvin said.

Former teammate and Running Back Emmitt Smith posted on social media, "What a game! Congrats!'' for the victory over TCU which, last year, played for the national championship game.

Another of Sanders' former Dallas teammates, Super Bowl quarterback and friend Troy Aikman, hung out with him in Fort Worth on Friday before the game, according to Cowboy Maven on FanNation.

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About The Author


Steve Rees is a freelance journalist who covers events related to the church and the power of God.