The first half of Saturday’s game between rivals Colorado State and No. 18 Colorado was extremely eventful. In total, 16 penalties were awarded in the first half, including 11 during the first quarter.
Colorado two-way star Travis Hunter was on the wrong end of an unnecessary roughness penalty. After quarterback Shedeur Sanders attempted to connect with Hunter on a deep pass, Colorado State defensive back Henry Blackburn shot Hunter in the chest, forcing the Buffaloes star to lie down on the field for a few moments before pulling himself together.
Hunter received medical treatment on the sideline before re-entering the game late in the first quarter and played for the remainder of the first half. However, Hunter left the stadium in the second half and was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation. It is unclear whether Hunter’s departure from the game was related to the hit.
While Hunter was on the ground after the hit, Sanders ran toward Blackburn and appeared to exchange a few words with him. Blackburn did not receive a targeting penalty on the play, but Colorado State’s Ayden Hector was called for pass interference, helping Colorado move the ball down the field before scoring a touchdown to make it one 14-14 game.
NBA star LeBron James was among those who questioned the lack of a targeting call when the hit on Hunter occurred late in the first quarter.
“I don’t understand the difference between the targeting and what I just witnessed,” James wrote in a social media post. “I’ve seen others get evicted for much less money. It was blatant and inappropriate IMO!”
Former NFL star JJ Watt also took to social media after Hunter’s hit, questioning why Blackburn wasn’t ejected from the game.
Hunter played a pivotal role in Colorado’s 2-0 start, recording 14 receptions for 192 yards on offense, while totaling seven tackles and an interception on defense. He had two receptions for 21 yards and two total tackles before leaving Saturday’s game.
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