By Russell Contreas
The Associated Press
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jared Roberts made a 41-yard field goal with 3 seconds left and Colorado State overcame a 22-point deficit to beat Washington State 48-45 on Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl.
It was a dramatic comeback to open the bowl season and came as both quarterbacks threw for close to 800 yards combined.
With less than 2 minutes left, Colorado State’s Shaquil Barrett forced Cougars running back Jeremiah Laufasa to fumble at the Cougars 33. That set up Kapri Bibbs’ 1-yard run scoring and Donnell Alexander’s two-point conversion run that tied it with 33 seconds left.
Then, Washington State’s Teondray Caldwell fumbled a kickoff return at the Cougars 24, setting up the winning field goal.
Garrett Grayson threw for 369 yards and Bibbs ran for 169 yards and three touchdowns for Colorado State (8-6). The Rams overcame three early turnovers, but were helped by Washington State’s two fumbles with less than 3 minutes remaining.
Connor Halliday threw touchdown passes to six receivers and finished with 410 yards for Washington State (6-7).
Washington State scored 35 points in the first half, but had only 10 in the second. With the game winding down, a lack of a running game forced the Cougars to stay with their spread offense and prevented them for running down the clock when ahead by 15 points in the fourth quarter.
Washington State rushed for minus-10 yards total.
The match-up brought together two second-year coaches — Rams coach Jim McElwain and Cougars coach Mike Leach — working to turn around their teams’ fortunes with high-octane offenses. Both said they had hope for a bowl victory to help with recruiting.
Colorado State had not played in a postseason game since 2008. Washington State had not been in a bowl game since 2003.
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