The first half of the Gildan New Mexico Bowl ended with 58 total points scored between the Colorado State Rams and the Washington State Cougars.
But it was a messy first half for CSU.
The Rams, uncharacteristically, looked like they lacked focus and discipline as the Cougars jumped out to a quick 14-point lead after a fumble by CSU receiver Rashard Higgins led to Washington State’s first touchdown of the game. Minutes later, the Cougars blocked a CSU punt and added their second score after WSU quarterback Connor Halliday hit receiver Gabe Marks in the end zone with 11:17 to go in the first quarter.
First half stats:
Quarterback Garrett Grayson 15-27-1, 234 yards, 1 TD
Running back Kapri Bibbs 15 rush, 56 yards, 1 TD
Receiver Charles Lovett 4 receptions, 80 yards, 1 TD
Quarterback Connor Halliday 16-27-1, 221 yards, 5 TD
Running back Marcus Mason 3 rush, 7 yards
Receiver River Cracraft 3 receptions, 60 yards, 1 TD
*WSU has 5 receivers with one touchdown each
The Rams cut the Cougars lead to seven on a 63-yard Garrett Grayson bomb to receiver Charles Lovett. When it looked like the Rams were going to stop a WSU drive after safety Jake Schlager sacked Halliday, the Cougars instead added to their lead after the sack was negated by a celebration flag on defensive end Eli Edwards and Halliday threw for his third touchdown of the game to give the Cougars a 21-7 lead.
The CSU secondary struggled to stop Halliday, a quarterback who averages 59 pass attempts per game, and he finished the first half with five touchdowns and one interception with 221 yards passing. Conversely, Grayson ended the first half 15-of-27 for 234 yards with one touchdown and one interception. The Rams added a late touchdown with just under one minute left in the first half to make the score 35-20 WSU.
CSU kicker Jared Roberts added to the Rams’ score with a 30-yard field goal to make it 35-23 WSU at the end of the half. Roberts earlier connected on two other field goals for 25 and 19 yards respectively.
The Rams will receive the ball to start the second half.
Football Beat Reporter Katie O’Keefe can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.