For those who think there are too many bowl games, college football presents the 2013 New Mexico Bowl.
Colorado State (8-6) scored 11 points in the final minute of the fourth quarter to rally past Washington State (6-7) in Albuquerque on Saturday to open the 2013-2014 bowl season. The Rams kicked a 41-yard, game-winning field goal as time expired to seal their stunning 48-45 win. Those 11 points in the final sixty seconds of the game capped an 18-0 run that turned a 45-30 deficit with 9:35 remaining into a 48-45 triumph that brought the CSU fans in attendance rushing onto the field.
The late rally took the spotlight off Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday's trash-talking, record-breaking performance. The junior signal caller tossed six touchdown passes to set a New Mexico Bowl record. The first touchdown throw came just minutes into the first quarter and was followed by a verbal altercation with a coach along the Colorado State sideline. Rolling toward the Rams' sideline as he loosed a 25-yard touchdown pass to teammate River Cracraft, Halliday's momentum took him right into the face of a coach. The two jawed at each other, seeming to use some NSFW language, before another coach separated them, pushing Halliday back toward the field.
Halliday would throw four more touchdowns by the end of the second quarter to give his Cougars a 35-23 lead heading into the intermission. Halliday's sixth touchdown pass came in the fourth quarter and stretched Washington State's lead to 45-30.
The Rams then began charging. Soon after, the Cougars began fumbling.
Colorado State quarterback Garrett Grayson found Jordon Vaden for 12-yard touchdown pass to trim the deficit to 45-37 with 2:52 remaining. On the ensuing possession, Washington State committed the first of two late fumbles. WSU running back Jeremiah Laufasa lost the ball and the Rams recovered. Eight plays later, Kapri Bibbs rushed for a 1-yard touchdown to pull the Rams within two points. Using a bit of trickery, they converted a two-point conversion to tie up the score 45-45.
GIF: Colorado State Uses 'Statue Of Liberty'
(GIF via @SBNation)
That a "Statue Of Liberty" play was followed by something even more unexpected is a testament to the improbable nature of the New Mexico Bowl. With the game tied and just 27 seconds remaining on the clock, Colorado State kicked off to Washington State. Running back Teondray Caldwell fielded the kickoff but fumbled the ball at the WSU 24-yard line. Jake Schlager recovered the loose ball to set up the game-winning field goal. After Jared Roberts' kick split the uprights, those in green in the crowd went, appropriately, wild.