ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Jared Roberts made a 41-yard field goal as time expired, 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 years 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 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.
Las Vegas Bowl
USC 45, NO. 21 FRESNO ST. 20: In Las Vegas, Cody Kessler passed for 344 yards and a bowl-record four touchdowns in the Trojans’ victory over the 21st-ranked Bulldogs under Clay Helton, their third head coach in less than three months.
Marqise Lee and Nelson Agholor had two touchdown catches apiece, Javorius Allen rushed two more scores, and the Trojans (10-4) answered every question about their motivation by dancing on the sideline while routing a BCS contender for the storied program’s first postseason victory since 2009.
Derek Carr passed for just 217 yards and two TDs in his final game at Fresno State (11-2), which fell behind 35-6 at halftime and failed to secure the first 12-win season in school history.
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
SAN DIEGO ST 49, BUFFALO 24: In Boise, Idaho, Adam Muema rushed for 230 yards and three touchdowns, and Quinn Kaehler tossed a pair of touchdowns as San Diego State rolled to a victory over Buffalo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl.
The Aztecs pulled away early, scoring three touchdowns in a 5:24 span stretching from the end of the first half into the third quarter. The scoring spree was fueled by two costly Buffalo turnovers, the first an interception just before halftime that set up Kaehler’s 25-yard touchdown toss to Dylan Denso.
The Bulls then fumbled on the opening kick in third quarter. The Aztecs (8-5, 6-2 Mountain West Conference) scored five plays later when Kaehler fired an 11-yard TD to Adam Roberts to go up 35-10.
Not much went right for the Bulls (8-5, 6-2 Mid-American Conference), playing in the second bowl game in the team’s 100-year history.
Buffalo had three turnovers and just 309 total yards.