Colorado State Falls to Utah in Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
LAS VEGAS - The Colorado State football team fell to Utah Saturday afternoon in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl at Sam Boyd Stadium, 45-10. The Rams finished one of the most successful seasons in school history with a record of 10-3, making them one of just five teams in program history to win at least 10 games.
Utah (9-4) jumped out to an early lead, scoring two touchdowns in the game's first seven minutes before the Rams found their footing and climbed back into the game.
Colorado State scored its first touchdown at the 5:42 mark of the first quarter to narrow the deficit to 14-7. Senior wide receiver Charles Lovett caught a lateral from Garrett Grayson toward the right perimeter and threw back across the field to Grayson who followed a well-setup wall of blockers to the end zone for a 39-yard scoring play.
It was the first touchdown reception of Grayson's career, and the third touchdown pass for Lovett, with the previous two coming in 2011.
Colorado State and Utah would trade scores before the end of the first quarter, with a Utah touchdown and a 41-yard Jared Roberts field goal to push the Utah lead to 21-10 at the end of the first quarter. Utah added a 38-yard field goal from Andy Phillips in the second quarter to push the score to 24-10 at halftime. The Rams held the Utes to a field-goal attempt on their final possession before the half, and Phillips knocked it off the left upright to preserve the 24-10 score.
The Rams forced a Utah punt on the opening possession of the second half, and began a march that moved the ball into Utah territory, threatening to cut into the two-touchdown lead. The drive reached the Utah 22-yard line before a sack by the stout Utah defense pushed the Rams back five yards, and Roberts then misfired on a 44-yard field goal attempt.
Despite the promising start to the second half, that was the last time the Rams would threaten the Utes, who got on a roll and tacked on three more touchdowns in a seven-minute span over the latter part of the third quarter and the beginning of the fourth quarter.
Colorado State Interim Head Coach Dave Baldwin applauded his team for the effort they have put forth this season. Baldwin made note of the progress this team has made this season and for the seniors the progress they made over their career. After the game he thanked and appreciated the Colorado State fans that traveled to Las Vegas to watch the team play.
"Of course that's not the way we wanted to end the season, but this team won 10 games, and it's a special team," Baldwin said. "Regardless of not finishing teh way we wanted to, 10 wins for this team was something special. I'm proud of them as assistant coaches, as players, as a university."
Colorado State finished the season with at least 10 wins for just the fifth time in school history. The Rams' nine-game winning streak from games 3-10--the program's longest since 1997--ran their record to 10-1 on Nov. 22 and a No. 21 national ranking before a last-second loss in the regular-season finale at Air Force, and today's loss.
Grayson finished the season with a school-record 4,006 passing yards--the fourth-most in Mountain West history--and claimed all-time CSU passing records in every major statistical category. Grayson ended the game completing 20 or 34 attempts for 227 yards with one interception. His longest completion went 59 yards in the first quarter to All-American wide receiver Rashard Higgins, who hauled in 7 receptions for 110 yards to record his 10th 100-yard receiving game of the season.
The Rams rushing game was held on the ground to 12 rushing yards on 19 carries.