Sep 1, 2013
By Craig Buchanan
Athletic Media Relations
DENVER, Colo.--In Sunday's highly-anticipated matchup between the Colorado Buffaloes and the Colorado State Rams in the Rocky Mountain Showdown, the Rams came up short, falling to the Buffaloes 41-27 in front of a crowd of 59,601 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
"We got beaten by a team today that was opportunistic," Head Coach Jim McElwain said. "They created big plays; give them credit. I thought their quarterback played one heck of a game."
Colorado State couldn't contain junior quarterback Connor Wood, who completed 33 passes for 400 yards and three touchdowns. CSU's junior quarterback Garrett Grayson led the way for the Rams with 201 yards through the air.
The Buffs got on the board early when Wood found junior wide receiver Paul Richardson behind the Rams' defense for an 82-yard touchdown with 12:41 left in the first quarter.
Colorado would add to their lead with a 22-yard field goal with 36 seconds left in the quarter to put the Buffaloes up 10-0. The Rams would respond, moving the ball 47 yards in five plays to set up kicker Jared Roberts on a 39-yard field goal to make it 10-3 with just over 14 minutes remaining in the first half.
After forcing a punt, the Buffs moved the ball 63 yards in 2:40 and found the end zone with 3:56 left in the half when Wood connected with D.D. Goodson for an 18-yard touchdown to increase the lead to 17-3.
Facing a two-touchdown deficit, the Rams mounted an attack, going 74 yards in seven plays and capping the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run by Kapri Bibbs, the first of his career.
Colorado was able to mount a two-minute drive to end the half. Will Oliver connected on a 41-yard field goal as time expired to extend CU's lead to 20-10 heading into the intermission.
Colorado State came out of the second half with a newfound energy though, quickly forcing a three-and-out. The Rams' offense never touched the field, as sophomore Joe Hansley made his mark on the game with a 74-yard punt return for a touchdown to cut the CU lead to 20-17.
"He showed up big," McElwain said of his receiver, who also scored a touchdown in last year's Rocky Mountain Showdown, in his first career game. "I'm proud of him because he came and really competed."
After another Oliver field goal, the Rams took their first lead of the game when Bibbs crossed the goal line for a second time on a 2-yard rush with 2:51 left in the third quarter, making it 24-23. Bibbs finished the game leading the Rams with 15 rushes for 70 yards and two touchdowns.
With CU tacking on another field goal to put them back in the lead, the tide in the game changed with just over 11 minutes remaining. As the Rams moved across midfield, Grayson found Bibbs on a short pass, but Colorado senior defensive end Chidera Uzo-Diribe tracked him down and knocked the ball loose. Junior cornerback Greg Henderson scooped up the fumble and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown. The score gave the Buffs a 33-24 lead.
With just under four minutes left in the game, Roberts connected on a 30-yard field goal to make it a one possession game to give the Rams a chance.
The Buffaloes eliminated any chance of a comeback on the very first play of the drive when Wood found Richardson for another long touchdown, this time 75 yards. Richardson finished the game with 202 yards and two touchdowns on 10 receptions.
Hansley led the Rams in receiving with eight catches for 91 yards, while true freshman Rashard Higgins hauled in six receptions and 57 yards. On defense, several CSU players finished with career highs. Redshirt-sophomore safety Kevin Pierre-Louis finished with a career-high 15 tackles, while redshirt-junior cornerback Bernard Blake finished with career highs in tackles (11) and pass break-ups (two). Linebackers Aaron Davis and Cory James also posted career highs in tackles, posting 11 and nine tackles respectively.
"We've got a very good football team," McElwain said. "I believe in our football team. I believe in their commitment, and I believe in what they've done. We have a ways to go, but I do believe in this football team and I think we have a lot of good things to look forward to."
Colorado State will return to the field on Sept. 7 when it travels to Tulsa to take on the Golden Hurricane. Kickoff is slated for 5 p.m. MT. The game will be televised on CBS Sports Network.
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