Coach Prime is right at home in prime time.
Saturday’s Rocky Mountain Showdown between Deion Sanders’ Colorado Buffaloes and Colorado State was the most watched ESPN late-prime game on record and fifth most-watched college football game ever, according to the network’s PR team.
ESPN says the game was also its most-streamed regular-season contest of all time.
CU, of course, came back from down 11 midway through the fourth quarter and ultimately won a double-overtime thriller over its longtime in-state rival, 43-35.
The showdown averaged 9.3 million viewers, with a peak of 11.1 million viewers, according to ESPN PR.
🔥 @CUBuffsFootball's comeback thriller registers 𝟗.𝟑 𝐌𝐈𝐋𝐋𝐈𝐎𝐍 𝐕𝐈𝐄𝐖𝐄𝐑𝐒— ESPN PR (@ESPNPR) September 19, 2023
🏈ESPN’s 5th most-watched CFB game on record
🏈Shatters previous ESPN late prime window viewership high
🏈@ESPNCFB's most-streamed regular season game of all time pic.twitter.com/his917lb0F
The viewership was also good for the fourth best regular-season college football game, excluding conference championships, on ESPN over the last six years.
Colorado State entered the game as a three-touchdown underdog before taking Colorado down to the wire in a game that was featured on ESPN’s College GameDay and Fox Big Noon Kickoff.
‘Brady mode’: Shedeur Sanders’ explanation for game-tying drive vs. CSU
Adding to the intrigue ahead of kickoff was a war of words between Sanders and Rams head coach Jay Norvell.
Norvell took an apparent jab at Sanders’ etiquette in a radio interview, saying he “take off his hat and his sunglasses” when he “talks to grown-ups.” Sanders said “it’s personal” and gained viral attention for gifting his signature eyewear to his team and broadcast crews ahead of the matchup.
CU is not done with the spotlight, either.
The No. 19 Buffs will return to the national stage in Week 4 when they visit No. 10 Oregon in Eugene. That game will air on Denver7 with kickoff at 1:30 p.m.
Colorado’s home bout with the USC Trojans will air in Fox’s Big Noon Saturday slot the following week.
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