Colorado State shocks Washington State in New Mexico Bowl with 48-45 comeback win
If fake punts, fourth down conversions, turnovers, blown coverages, opposing coaches arguing with players and lots of points are your thing, then the New Mexico Bowl is your kind of party.
Connor Halliday threw for six touchdowns, five in the first half, but it wasn’t enough as Colorado State came from 15 points down with four minutes to play to steal a win over Washington State, 48-45, in Albuquerque in the first bowl game of the season. This one got going fast with two interceptions, two touchdowns and a blocked punt occurring in the first four minutes. It ended the way it started, with fumbles galore and eventually a game-winning field goal.
With leading rusher Kapri Bibbs limited by turf toe, the Rams struggled to find an offensive rhythm. Eventually Colorado State settled down and started executing, engineering a couple long drives that led to points. But Washington State was able to take advantage of CSU’s suspect pass defense. Halliday (37-of-58, 411 yards, 1 INT) continued to pick on the Rams’ secondary and carried a 35-23 lead into the break.
That’s when Bibbs made his mark, turf toe be darned. The sophomore, who had 1,572 yards and 28 touchdowns in the regular season, finished with 169 yards and three scores, including a 75-yard scramble with 10:43 left in the third quarter. Playing from behind kept Jim McElwain’s team from being able to run the offensive gameplan it probably wanted to, although Washington State left the door open for the Rams to make it a game.
Quarterback Garrett Grayson hit Jordon Vaden for a 12-yard score with 3:02 left to cut the lead to eight. On the ensuing possession, Halliday looked to fumble before it was overturned, and on the next play he snapped it with :20 left on the play clock, as Jeremiah Laufasa had the ball knocked away, recovered by the Rams. Quickly Colorado State got it in the end zone, with the drive ending on another Bibbs score.
On the two-point conversion, CSU ran a bit of a Statue of Liberty look-alike and it seemed like Donnell Alexander touched the pylon. The initial call was that he stepped out, but the game was tied after the review. On the kickoff, Washington State fumbled, giving CSU the field position it needed for kicker Jared Roberts to hit the 41-yard game winner.
Last year’s New Mexico Bowl saw Arizona beat Nevada on a game-winning drive after a successful onside kick, and somehow this one topped it. Bowl season is upon us friends, in resounding fashion. Treasure it and ration it appropriately along with your canned goods and bottled waters.