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Colorado State, Bad JuJu Overcome Washington State Lead, Late In Albuquerque’s Gildan New Mexico Bowl

December 21st, 2013 · Tags:Sports

 

 Superstitions in sports can get a little cray-cray. I don’t believe in them … much … but when I heard the Washington State Band started dancing to “Back In Black” near the end of the game … I just had a feeling. The band’s moves were good and the dance team looked particularly in sync. But B-I-B is not even real AC/DC. It was recorded after Bon Scott died. It is a cheap imitation. It is evil. Shun it. Do not flirt with it.

 

The Cougars did. And lo and behold, after having a 15-point lead with about two and half minutes left to play, and after leading the entire game, Washington State went down by three points. If it wasn’t wasn’t a case of sampling bad pseudo/DC … then I ask you. Just what in the name of all things holy happened?

 

NM Cougs Score sized

 

Scratching our collective heads on this one. 48-45. Final.

 

Weird thing is, we harped on the importance of the “line” in Vegas before and during the game. Remember … how we mentioned both teams have a history of playing well enough to cover the spread. What was the line? Four points, favoring Colorado State University, the last we heard. Well, Washington State didn’t get the win, but I bet a lot of people did … they lost by three.

 

 

Enough on odds making …

 

Colorado State tied the game, by scoring a two-point conversion — on a STATUE OF LIBERTY around the left end, racing to the corner of the end zone and scoring … even though the runner was initially called out of bounds on the field. The call was reversed upstairs by the replay team and the two points awarded. Tie game, less than a minute left to play.

 

On the ensuing kickoff, the Cougar return man either tripped or cautiously hit the turf after he returned the ball just a few yards . Coach Mike Leach’s Cougs fumbled, deep in their own territory … at or around the 24. The Rams thanked their lucky stars, ran two plays to take time off the clock and kicked a 40-yard field goal with four seconds on the clock at the snap and got the win at the end of regulation.

 

No one saw this coming.

 

And it is interesting to note that just a minute before the final fumble, WSU had coughed up the ball on another short run. That time, the replay booth ruled the runner down, and the Cougar nation sighed relief. A bullet dodged … and then more ammunition given to their foe.

 

How can a team that can control the ball well enough to wrack up 400-yards of offense waste away a 15-point lead, or fail to at least run out the clock and go into overtime?

 

It MUST have been the Back-In-Black juju, I tell ya.

 

Anywho … there were many lessons in this game. Despite the negatives mentioned above … Think about Colorado State. They did not have a prayer, or so it would seem. They were three or four touchdowns behind at times. But you know what? I walked down the CSU sideline when they were down 15 and they were still keeping the faith. You just can’t get enough reminders in life to keep fighting. Today was a great example … for sports or for life.

 

Another footballism was painfully clear in this 2013 Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Football is a game of inches. The two-point conversion to tie the game was as much a photo finish as I have ever seen. The runner ran from the back of the backfield to the front corner of the end zone with a 300-pound defender matching him almost stride-for-stride. At the last second he dived for the end zone and with his last inch of tendon stretched, he reached and hit the pylon with the football. Touchdown. What a great ending for half of the 27,000 fans on hand this day in “The Querque.”

 

Somebody had to lose … but other than that, it was one great, exciting game for fans of offensive firepower. The defenses were not horrible, when you consider what they were up against — two precision scoring machines driven by two shrewd, innovative coaches.

 

If you care about this game, you probably watched it. So I won’t rehash everything … but just a few factoids. At halftime, looking sure to be the victor, Washington State quarterback Connor Halliday had set a new New Mexico Bowl record for touchdown passes, with 5 … by half time! He finished the day with 37 of 58 passes for 410 yards and tied an NCAA bowl record six touchdown passes … all while being sacked five times.

 

At halftime, both quarterbacks, Halliday and Garrett Grayson for CSU had attempted 27 passes … both throwing at record pace for this bowl. So early on, we had something special.

 

 

Grayson finished the game with 369 yards and two touchdowns on 50 passing attempts.

 

 

But in a game with so many things flying in the air, it was a powerful runner who made the difference in the end. The Rams out rushed The Cougs 226 to -10 yards. CSU’s Kapri Bibbs had three touchdowns, the third being the score that made the two-point conversation possible. Ha … his second, a 75-yard scamper, broke out just as I had stepped into the men’s room. (And I thought all the cheers were for my success … I digress). That’s 31 TDs on the year for Bibbs. Only three college running backs have scored 30 TDs in a season. And one of them was Barry Sanders.

 

Great day of football. If you want more … here are the stats from ESPN:

Gildan New Mexico Bowl Boxscores

 

Know what I sayin?