172 Seconds

172 Seconds

Less than three minutes – 172 seconds, to be exact.

That’s how long it took the CSU Rams to complete one of the most remarkable comebacks in school history and earn a 48-45 win over Washington State in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.

“That’s the most unbelievable game I’ve ever been a part of,” senior center Weston Richburg said after the game, summing up the feelings of his teammates and the thousands of fans who traveled to Albuquerque in December.

The Rams, under the direction of second-year coach Jim McElwain, trailed for all but 33 seconds and appeared finished when they fell behind by 22 points. CSU, though, offered a preview of what was to come at game’s end by scoring 10 points in the final 59 seconds of the second quarter to close within 35-23 at halftime.

The final rally began with 2:52 remaining when receiver Jordon Vaden scored on a 12-yard pass from quarterback Garrett Grayson to trim WSU’s lead to 45-37. Linebacker Shaquil Barrett, the game’s most valuable player, then forced and recovered a fumble. Running back Kapri Bibbs scored his third touchdown of the game with 33 seconds to play, and Donnell Alexander added a 2-point conversion on a “State of Liberty” play to forge a 45-45 tie.

The Rams then forced another fumble on the ensuing kickoff, setting up Jared Roberts’ game-winning field goal as time expired.

“I just can’t tell you how proud I am of their effort,” McElwain said of the Rams, who earned their first winning record (8-6) and bowl berth in five years.

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