Albuquerque, N.M. • 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 with 3 seconds left that 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 lead the entire game until that winning field goal.
"That win right there. â¦ 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."
Colorado St. 48, Washington St. 45
Washington St. 21 14 3 7 45
Colorado St. 10 13 7 18 48
WSU • Cracraft 25 pass from Halliday (Furney kick), 12:32.
WSU • Marks 1 pass from Halliday (Furney kick), 11:17.
CSU • Lovett 63 pass from Grayson (Roberts kick), 7:02.
WSU • T.West 28 pass from Halliday (Furney kick), 5:27.
CSU • FG Roberts 25, 2:52.
CSU • FG Roberts 19, 9:55.
WSU • Mayle 28 pass from Halliday (Furney kick), 6:52.
WSU • Galvin 3 pass from Halliday (Furney kick), 2:48.
CSU • Bibbs 1 run (Roberts kick), :59.
CSU • FG Roberts 30, :00.
WSU • FG Furney 33, 10:43.
CSU • Bibbs 75 run (Roberts kick), 10:30.
WSU • Myers 22 pass from Halliday (Furney kick), 9:35.
CSU • Vaden 12 pass from Grayson (Roberts kick), 2:52.
CSU • Bibbs 1 run (Alexander run), :33.
CSU • FG Roberts 41, :00.
Attendance • 27,104.
First downs 21 29
Rushes-yards 19-(-10) 46-226
Passing 410 369
Comp-Att-Int 37-58-1 31-51-1
Return Yards 32 1
Punts-Avg. 6-40.5 5-32.8
Fumbles-Lost 3-2 2-2
Penalties-yards 10-70 7-48
Time of Possession 25:39 34:21
Rushing • Washington St., T.West 3-17, Caldwell 3-14, Mason 4-5, Laufasa 1-2, K.Williams 1-1, Halliday 7-(minus 49). Colorado St., Bibbs 27-169, Alexander 7-31, Grayson 8-10, Morgan 1-8, Cartwright 1-4, Schlager 1-4, Hansley 1-0.
Passing • Washington St., Halliday 37-58-1-410. Colorado St., Grayson 31-50-1-369, Team 0-1-0-0.
Receiving • Washington St., Cracraft 9-125, K.Williams 7-72, Marks 5-37, T.West 3-50, Myers 3-45, Galvin 3-24, Mason 3-18, Mayle 2-38, D.Williams 1-3, Caldwell 1-(minus 2). Colorado St., Vaden 8-60, Lovett 5-93, Hansley 4-56, Gillmore 4-44, Higgins 4-42, Alexander 3-17, Cartwright 2-51, Bibbs 1-6.