FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) All season long, tailback Dee Hart has been razzed by Jim McElwain about his lack of breakaway speed.
Take that, coach.
Hart matched a school record with six touchdowns, including scores of 76 and 55 yards, as No. 22 Colorado State routed New Mexico 58-20 on Saturday to extend its winning streak to nine straight.
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Still want to hold that foot race?
”That’s the first time I’ve seen he hadn’t been caught,” McElwain cracked. ”What, did the other guys fall down? All 11 of their guys must have fallen down.”
On this afternoon, Hart couldn’t be caught. No one could as the Rams (10-1, 6-1 Mountain West) amassed a program-best 698 yards of offense.
Hart, a graduate transfer from Alabama who arrived in Fort Collins over the summer, led the way against New Mexico (3-8, 1-6) by rushing for 230 yards and five TDs. He also hauled in a TD pass to tie Kapri Bibbs’ school mark of six scores set last season against the Lobos.
”Great game by Dee, scored five times,” receiver Rashard Higgins said.
Six times, actually.
”Six? Six times? Man,” Higgins said with an appreciative sigh.
Simply that kind of day for the Rams, who are off to their best start since 1994.
Garrett Grayson threw for 389 yards with two of his TD passes going to Higgins, who was back after missing a game with a sore shoulder.
New Mexico is 2-26 on the road against teams in the Top 25.
”They are a legitimate BCS top-level offensive football team,” said New Mexico coach Bob Davie, whose team has dropped five straight to Colorado State. ”I think just the overall immaturity of our team really showed and jumped up and bit us. We’ve probably hidden it to a degree, but it all kind of caved in today.”
The Lobos struggled from the opening kick, when returner Ridge Jones fumbled the ball away. It was one of two that Jones lost in the first half, with both setting up scores.
Colorado State’s offensive output broke the mark of 693 yards set against Tennessee-Chattanooga in 1996.
The Rams led 37-7 at halftime and coasted to the 499th win in program history.
About the only thing that went wrong for the Rams in the first half was when reliable kicker Jared Roberts missed an extra point. It snapped a streak of 111 straight, which was a school and conference record.
Higgins finished 10 catches for 167 yards. His 1,447 yards receiving this season is a new school record, breaking David Anderson’s mark of 1,293 set in 2003.
Nicknamed ”Hollywood” for his big-play ability, Higgins is up for the Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top receiver.
Grayson broke his 13th school record, eclipsing the all-time total offense mark held by former standout Bradlee Van Pelt. Grayson now has 8,913 yards in his career.
”Bradlee is still the man around here,” said Grayson, who played his final game at Hughes Stadium. ”When you go downtown or walk around Fort Collins, people go, `BVP, BVP.’ He’s still the man. To break his record, I’m very humbled by it and honored.”
Colorado State returner Deionte Gaines had a 100-yard kickoff return for a score negated in the second quarter by a holding penalty. No matter, Hart burst through the line for a 76-yard score, the longest rushing TD for the Rams since Bibbs’ 85-yarder against Nevada last November.
Bibbs gouged New Mexico last season, rushing for 291 yards and six TDs.
Hart nearly matched that total. His last carry of the day was a 55-yard TD late in the third, before calling it a day, along with most of the starters.
And to think, McElwain wants to race him.
”(Coach) still thinks he can beat me,” said Hart, whose team doesn’t currently control its own destiny to get to the league championship game, due to an early season loss to Boise State. ”I’m going to give him a couple of weeks, let him get his cardio back. Think I can get him.”
Grayson’s money is on Hart, too. He certainly wouldn’t want race Hart – or try to tackle him.
”With his physicality, the way he runs people over and makes people miss, it keeps people guessing,” Grayson said. ”They don’t know if he’s going to juke them or run them over.