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Saturday, December 21, 2013
Instant Analysis: Colorado State 48, WSU 45

By Ted Miller


Washington State… well, as your rivals often joke, you "Couged it."

It was over when: Colorado State kicker Jared Roberts booted a 41-yard field goal as time expired, capping an epic meltdown by Washington State in a 48-45 Rams victory in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque. The Cougars (6-7) surrendered 18 points in the final 2:52, fumbling twice to give the seemingly beaten Rams (8-6) new life.

Game ball goes to: Colorado State running back Kapri Bibbs, who was nursing a turf toe injury, rushed for 169 yards on 27 carries with three touchdowns, including a 75-yard effort and a 1-yard burst that tied the game in the waning moments. He averaged 6.3 yards per rush.

Unsung hero of the game: Colorado State QB Garrett Grayson completed 31 of 50 passes for 369 yards and two touchdowns, leading an offense that gained 595 yards against a Cougars defense that was surprisingly hapless and unsound.

Stat of the game: The Cougars rushed for minus-10 yards. And when they tried to run the ball in order to run out the clock, it became a comedy of errors. Just after replay officials saved the Cougars from a Connor Halliday fumble on a peculiar read-option keeper, Jeremiah Laufasa fumbled on the next play, setting up the tying touchdown and two-point conversion.

What it means: It means most of the momentum Washington State gained from playing in its first bowl game since 2003 reverts to frustration. The Cougars will almost certainly make every postseason bowl game review for being the bowl season's biggest chokers.

Instead of finishing 7-6, the Cougs finish with a losing record for the seventh consecutive season.

The final three minutes of the game were devoid of poise and execution. This one will bite at coach Mike Leach and his players for a long time, at least until the 2014 season opener.

It also means the Pac-12 loses its first game in 11 matchups this year against the Mountain West Conference.

Recall this week when Pac-12 fans were irritated with ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach for picking the Pac-12 to go 3-6 this bowl season? Well, he picked Colorado State to beat Washington State.

To watch the trophy presentation of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, click here.