Colorado State stuns Washington State 48-45

Connor Halliday had little to show for record-matching

performance in the New Mexico Bowl after Washington State’s late

collapse.

The Cougars fumbled the last two times they had the ball,

helping Colorado State to an improbable comeback in a 48-45 victory

Saturday.

Halliday threw six touchdown passes to match the NCAA bowl

record and had 410 yards, but it wasn’t enough.

”It hurts that we have to look ourselves in the mirror that we

weren’t able to win the game as an offense,” he said. ”Just run

the clock out and get first downs and keep our defense off the

field.”

Washington State (6-7) led 45-30 when it punted to the Rams

(8-6) with 4:17 remaining. Colorado State drove 72 yards in nine

plays to score with 2:49 left.

And when the Cougars gained a first down with 2:30 and the Rams

out of timeouts, it appeared the game was over.

Halliday, however, fumbled on the next play, but it was

overturned on replay.

On the very next play, however, Colorado State linebacker

Shaquil Barrett stripped Jeremiah Laufasa, who was making his first

carry of the game.

The Rams scored with 33 seconds left and Donnell Alexander

managed to hit the pylon on a Statue of Liberty play for the

2-point conversion and a tie.

On the ensuing kickoff, Teondray Caldwell fumbled and Colorado

State recovered again, setting up kicker Jared Roberts for the

winning 41-yard field goal as time expired, converting his fourth

kick of the game.

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

State coach Mike Leach said. ”I think down the stretch they were

more consistent on offense. They were more disciplined than we were

on defense.”

The Cougars led 35-13 in the third quarter.

”I give Colorado State a lot of credit. They played extremely

hard,” Leach said. ”They were behind the whole game and they

never gave up. They got rewarded for it. We have to be a tougher

team. We have to play better.”

Halliday earned offensive honors for his play and freshman

receiver River Cracraft turned in his best effort of the season

with nine catches for 125 yards and one touchdown.

After the first touchdown pass, Halliday got into a shouting

match with Colorado State defensive line coach Greg Lupfer 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.

After the game, Lupfer issued an apology through Colorado

State’s twitter account. ””I am truly sorry for what I said. It

was wrong and those words do not represent who I am and what I

believe in,” Lupfer said without offering details to what he said.

”I apologize for the embarrassment I caused for Colorado State

University, this team (and) my family.”

The Cougars’ rushing game was ineffective throughout the game

while Colorado State was able to move it well on the ground. Rams

back Kapri Bibbs finished with 169 yards on 27 carries and three

touchdowns. And Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson threw

for 369 yards and two touchdowns.

”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.”