AP Photo/Matt York

Colorado State scores 11 points in final minute to stun Washington State in New Mexico Bowl


Too many bowl games? Tell that to Colorado State fans.

Colorado State (8-6, 5-3 MWC) took advantage of some late miscues by Washington State (6-7, 4-5 Pac 12) to win the first bowl game of the season. Kapri Bibbs pushed through for his third touchdown if the game to bring the Rams within two points of Washington State and an official review overturned a two-point conversion ruling to give Colorado State two more points to tie the game at 45-45 in the final minute of the fourth quarter. A fumbled kickoff return set the Rams up for a game winning field goal as time expired for a wild 48-45 victory.

Washington State coughed away a late lead in the game at a time when Colorado State had no timeouts to stop the clock with two minutes to play. One lost fumble was overturned following a lengthy review determining Halliday had been down before losing the football. But a handoff on the very next play saw Colorado State rip the football away from the running back to have one final chance to tie the game up. The Rams took advantage with Bibbs pushing in for the touchdown, his third of the game.

The first quarter of this one had a little bit of everything. In the first 40 seconds in to the game both teams had turned the football over. Halliday got in to a bit of a shouting match with Colorado State defensive line coach Greg Lupfer after tossing the game’s first touchdown of the afternoon. The Rams got off to a poor start and Washington State took advantage with great starting field position set up by a blocked punt in the end zone allowing Washington State to score an easy touchdown for a quick 14-0 lead. The Cougars took a 35-23 lead in to the half.

Colorado State’s Bibbs rushed for his 30th touchdown of the season in the third quarter to cut the Washington State lead to 38-30. With the touchdown run Bibbs joined some elite company in college football history by becoming the third running back to rush for 30 touchdowns in a single season. He joins former Wisconsin running back Montee Ball and former Heisman Trophy winner from Oklahoma State Barry Sanders. Bibbs ended the game with a game-high 169 rushing yards and three touchdowns. He became the first FBS player to rush for three touchdowns in a game eight different times in a season as well.

Where Washington State goes from here should be fun to follow. Mike Leach‘s team ends on a low note but has a bright future ahead of them. Washington State was a young team this season. On the depth chart for this bowl game the first team offense and defense had eight seniors, so there will be some holes to fill, most notably on the offensive line and in the secondary. Leach was always expected to be capable of turning things around for Washington State the way he did at Texas Tech. This season showed they still have a long way to go before being able to challenge the likes of Stanford and Oregon for Pac 12 North bragging rights, and with Chris Petersen taking over at rival Washington the challenges may only get tougher in the future, but the Cougars have now come close to the thrill of postseason victory, and that can do a lot to continue building on a foundation.

And let us not overlook what Jim McElwain has done with Colorado State since taking over as head coach. Just as Leach has created an identity for Washington State’s turnaround, McElwain is bringing a bit of a Nick Saban-esque toughness to the program and the signs of progress are showing. In just his second year in the job, McElwain coached the Rams to a winning regular season and is in a conference where competing for a championship is not a far-fetched idea if things continue to develop.

Washington State opens the 2014 season in Seattle’s Century Link Field against Rutgers, who will be making their debut as a member of the Big Ten. The Cougars also get homes games against Oregon, USC and Washington.

Colorado State’s 2014 will begin in Denver against rival Colorado along with a home game against Tulsa.

No. 1 Ohio State puts sleeper hold on Maryland’s upset bid

Ezekiel Elliott, Kelon Adams
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Doesn’t it feel like we have seen this all before? No. 1 Ohio State, just as defending national champion Florida State did a year ago, has continued to skate by with some closer-than-expected results without falling victim to a loss. That trend continued Saturday afternoon in Columbus, with the Buckeyes improving to 6-0 and 2-0 in the Big Ten after pulling away from Maryland (2-4, 0-2 Big Ten), 49-28. The Terrapins tied Ohio State at 21-21 in the third quarter, but Cardale Jones completed a 48-yard touchdown pass to Jalin Marshall and J.T. Barrett and Ezekiel Elliot each scored on the ground as the Buckeyes finished on a strong note.

This season may not have gone quite to plan for Ohio State, but the Buckeyes continue to win games and shove aside any concerns along the way. Jones completed 20 passes for 279 yards and a pair of touchdowns without an interception. Elliott went over 100 yards and scored twice. Joey Bosa got a chance to do his usual shrug after a big play (Bosa also avoided getting an ejection for targeting after a mandatory instant replay review). Did Ohio State give up some big plays? Yes, they did. The good news is Ohio State makes plays when they need them the most, and ultimately that is what matters most. Ohio State does not need to blow out its opponents by 20 points on a weekly basis as long as it continues to win games. With four playoff spots up for grabs, Ohio State will secure one if it does not lose a game. The margin for error with a loss is an unknown variable, even as the season reaches its midway point.

Halfway through the season, Urban Meyer seems to have enough reason to stick with Jones and bring an end to that question some still have about the offense. Jones is going to be the quarterback, but Barrett will still get some play as well. Ohio State’s success will be determined by Elliott’s abilty to dominate a game.

Next up for Ohio State will be a home game against Penn State. The Nittany Lions took on a banged-up Indiana team in State College this afternoon. The Hoosiers may have taken Ohio State to the limit last week, but Penn State took advantage of a worn out Indiana team in  26-7 victory. Ohio State demolished Ohio State the last time Penn State visited, 63-14 in 2013, but it was the Nittany Lions that gave Ohio State its biggest scare of the season aside from Virginia Tech last year, with the Buckeyes escaping with an overtime victory on the road.

Maryland will head into a bye week, and it remains unconfirmed whether Edsall will be back to coach Maryland’s next game in two weeks. Reports late this week suggested the school will be moving on from Edsall as head coach, which means Maryland could be going with an interim head coach when Maryland takes on Penn State on October 24 in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium.

Not dead yet! Longhorns make statement in upset over No. 10 Oklahoma

Jerrod Heard

The demise of the Texas Longhorns has, somewhat, been exaggerated. A college football blueblood largely left for dead put the Big 12 on notice Saturday afternoon in Dallas by upsetting No. 10 Oklahoma in the Red River Rivalry, 24-17. After the game the players hoisted head coach Charlie Strong up as if the team had just won a national championship. You know what? Texas deserved that moment to release some tension with a unified show of joy.

After being flattened last week by TCU, Texas was a program in a big mess with players tweeting at halftime and upperclassmen and underclassmen not seeing eye-to-eye. This was also a good Oklahoma team Texas just defeated. The Sooners climbed to a top 10 ranking after flexing some muscle against West Virginia and showing some good things on offense. None of those good things showed up early enough against the Longhorns though.

Texas held Oklahoma to fewer than 100 yards of total offense in the first half. The Sooners converted just three of their 12 third-down plays, while Texas managed to go 9-of-15 on third downs. For Texas, it was all about getting the running game going to take Oklahoma out of it from the start. D’Onta Foreman led all players with 117 yards and quarterback Jerrod Heard added 115 rushing yards to go with his selectively efficient passing performance (8-of-10 for 53 yards and a touchdown). Johnathan Gray also chipped in with 76 rushing yards. Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine carried the football 10 times for just 36 yards and a touchdown. Considering the production Perine showed last season, this was another disappointing result for the Sooners. Perine has rushed for more than 78 yards in a game just once this season (152 yards vs. Tulsa).

This was the first victory in the rivalry game for Strong, and the second win in three years against the rival Sooners for the Longhorns. This season may still be a huge rebuilding year for Texas, but a win against Oklahoma can help the rebuilding process pick up the pace after starting the season with a 1-4 record. There will still be some difficult games ahead for Strong’s Longhorns (Baylor, Oklahoma State, West Virginia), but everybody in Austin deserves at least one day just to celebrate this win few people saw coming.

Texas looks to make it two wins in a row in two weeks when the Longhorns come off a bye week against Kansas State. Oklahoma will take on Kansas State next week in Manhattan.