Depending on which side you’re supporting, Saturday’s New Mexico Bowl was either the greatest comeback or the greatest collapse of the early bowl season.
In either case, it was an epic way to start off the 2013-14 bowl campaign.
Colorado State scored 18 points in the final 2 minutes and 50 seconds to beat Washington State 48-45.
While the point margin and time it took for the comeback were impressive, it was nothing compared to how it all went down. The Rams scored, then forced a fumble on Washington State’s next possession, scored, had a two-point conversion on a Statue of Liberty play, recovered a fumbled kickoff and then kicked the game-winning field goal.
And yes, it was as exciting and ridiculous and jaw-dropping and memorable as it all sounds.
When it was all over, Colorado State fans – the masses that had traveled from Fort Collins – rushed the field as players and fans celebrated one of the greatest wins in school history.
For the majority of the game, Washington State looked like it was going to keep Colorado State at arms length. It jumped out to a 21-7 lead and led 35-23 at the half. But the offense that dominated in the first half was nowhere to be found in the second half and in the final few minutes of the game, Washington State seemed disinterested in winning or even finishing the contest. Even before Jeremiah Laufasa fumbled to set up the game-tying score, quarterback Connor Halliday had a lazy grip on the football, lost it and was lucky the fumble was overturned.
Washington State seemed determined to give the game away.
The win caps an eight-win season for Colorado State, the most wins for the program since winning 10 in 2002. It also gave the Rams their first winning season since 2008. And makes coach Jim McElwain a hero for the next eight months.
Washington State, which had an opportunity to notch its first winning season since 2003, finishes 6-7 and that program-changing win against USC early in the season becomes a distant memory. If there’s any saving grace for the Cougars, it’s that it did manage to win six games for the first time since 2006 and that could be some motivation in 2014.
Now, all the rest of the bowl games have a lot to live up to.
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