Colorado State shocks Washington State, 48-45

With less than 2 minutes to play and Colorado State down by

eight points, Shaquil Barrett knew the Rams needed the ball back

quickly to finish an improbable comeback against Washington

State.

Once down by 22 points in the New Mexico Bowl, the Rams got

their chance when Cougars running back Jeremiah Laufasa came

barreling toward Barrett.

”I was kind of thinking in my mind, yeah, `That was our shot to

get back in the game right there,”’ said Barrett, who stripped the

ball. ”I really didn’t think I was going to get the

opportunity.”

That fumble, at the Cougars 33, set up Kapri Bibbs’ 1-yard run

score and Donnell Alexander’s two-point conversion run that tied it

at 45 with 33 seconds left.

Then, Washington State’s Teondray Caldwell fumbled a kickoff

return at the 24, setting up Jared Roberts’ 41-yard field goal as

time expired gave Colorado State a 48-45 victory Saturday.

It was a quarterback shootout that saw close to 800 passing

yards combined and a game largely dominated by Washington State

until the last 2 minutes.

And Colorado State did not have a led the entire game until that

winning field goal.

”That win right there…it’s pretty amazing how it worked but

at the end of the day, it’s about being resilient,” Rams coach Jim

McElwain. ”It’s about understanding (that) every play has a

history and life of its own.”

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.

”I’m still kind of at a loss for words about how that whole

thing ended up,” Rams center Weston Richburg said. ”It must have

been destiny. That’s the most unbelievable game I’ve ever been a

part of.”

Meanwhile, Washington State’s Connor Halliday threw touchdown

passes to six receivers and finished with 410 yards for Washington

State (6-7). Those six touchdown passes tied West Virginia’s Geno

Smith and Iowa’s Chuck Long for an NCAA bowl record.

After the first touchdown pass, Halliday got into a shouting

match with a Colorado State coach when Halliday ran into the Rams’

sideline. That exchange created a social media buzz and McElwain

vowed look into it.

”Coach grabbed me and said some profane things to me and that’s

all I’ll say about it,” Halliday said.

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.

”Colorado State finished the game. We didn’t,” Washington

State coach Mike Leach said. ”They finished the game better than

we did. The lesson to be learned from that is it doesn’t matter

where you’re at. You need to go out and finish the game.”

Washington State rushed for minus-10 yards total.

The match-up brought together two second-year coaches working to

turn around their teams’ fortunes with high-octane offenses.

Colorado State had not played in a postseason game since 2008.

Washington State had not been in a bowl game since 2003.

McElwain predicted the bowl victory would help the Rams with

recruiting and said it was evidence how far the program had

come.

”Unbelievable,” McElwain said. ”You don’t write scripts like

this.”

Follow Russell Contreras on Twitter at

http://twitter.com/russcontreras