How Does The Loss Of Travis Hunter Affect Colorado The Next Two Games | Who Will Pick Up The Slack? 

As the No. 19 ranked Colorado Buffaloes (3-0) travel to raucous and rowdy Autzen Stadium campus to face the No. 10 Oregon Ducks, they’ll unfortunately be doing so without their two-way star Travis Hunter.

Not exactly how you want to enter enemy territory versus a national title contender led by its own Heisman candidate in quarterback Bo Nix, who seems like he’s been in school for ten years. 

Hunter, the 2022 No. 1 overall recruit was injured in last week’s very physical and at times downright nasty “Rocky Mountain Showdown.” Hunter, suffered a lacerated liver on a blatant late-hit delivered by Colorado State Rams safety Henry Blackburn who in wake of his actions has received unnecessary death threats. To combat the loss of Hunter who played over 100 snaps in each of the Buffs first two games, the team will have to get creative, and here’s a few ways may do so. 

Hunter Loss Will Be Felt, But The Buffs Have Other Guys

First, let’s say there’s no replacing Hunter. He’s a different breed. Losing him means you lose your shutdown corner who can take the opponent’s top receiver out of the game. He’s also their most complete receiver in that he runs the entire route tree. Hunter can also be used to return punts and kickoffs, and although Coach Prime hasn’t done so with him yet, his explosive ability means he was an option if the Buffs needed a spark. 

Sanders spoke to reporters during his Thursday’s media session about losing Hunter.

“There’s no one in the country who can fill Travis Hunter’s shoes,” Sanders added. “He’s the best player on offense, he’s the best player on defense. That’s just who he is in the country, not just on this team.”

Expect Weaver And Horn Jr. To Get More Targets

With Hunter out for at least the next two games, the Buffaloes will look to target wide receivers Xavier Weaver (25 receptions for 386 yards) and the electric Jimmy Horn Jr. (247 yards receiving).

In fact, it was Horn’s catch-and-run dynamics that forced overtime in the Buffs 43-35 double overtime win. Walk-on tight end Michael Harrison is another name to watch as well. He’s been a security blanket for QB Shedeur Sanders.

On defense things are a lot less known, with Sanders saying 2023 No. 1 ranked cornerback Cormani McClain is not ready for game action after arriving in June. Defensive coordinator Charles Kelly will likely employ more of a zone concept and use multiple players. 

Either way, not having Hunter versus Heisman candidate QBs — Nix this week and reigning Heisman winner Caleb Willams next week — is a tall order with both teams possessing effective passing offenses.

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