Despite beating a Pac-12 opponent in Washington State last season and another in Colorado early this year, Jim McElwain’s Colorado State football team was still looking for its signature win when the Rams traveled east to face Boston College on Saturday.
Look no more.
Led by a gutsy effort from senior quarterback Garrett Grayson and a stout second half from its defense, CSU won its third consecutive game over a “Power 5” conference opponent by beating the Eagles 24-21 Saturday afternoon. Grayson, who endured a number of punishing blows all afternoon, hit senior slot receiver Charles “Big Chuck” Lovett on a 12-yard touchdown on 4th-and-11 with 1:02 to play to give the Rams their first and only lead of the game.
Following a touchback by kicker Jared Roberts, the CSU defense harassed Eagles quarterback Tyler Murphy, forcing him into Hail Mary throw that fell well short of any receiver on 4th-and-22.
However, as has been the case with the Rams so far this season, their start was less than impressive. CSU’s first four drives ended unsuccessfully with two Hayden Hunt punts as well as two poorly-thrown interceptions from Grayson. Trailing 14-0 midway through the second quarter, CSU finally found its offensive groove when Grayson hit sophomore Rashard Higgins on a drag route for a 21-yard touchdown. And after a missed field goal by Boston College, CSU found itself down just seven points heading into the halftime.
After the break, CSU used a bruising 10-play, 82-yard drive to tie the game at 14 on a six-yard touchdown run from junior running back Treyous Jarrells. But the Eagles would respond with a long drive of their own, going 82 yards over 11 plays to retake the lead on a five-yard touchdown run from running back Jon Hilliman with 3:41 to play in the third quarter. But that would be last time Boston College would find the endzone for the rest of the afternoon.
Looking to sew up its third win in as many weeks, Boston College drove 48 yards in seven plays before do-it-all quarterback Tyler Murphy was intercepted by CSU senior cornerback Bernard Blake. And after turning it over on downs on 4th-and-2, the Colorado State offense got one final chance when the Rams defense forced a punt with 5:02 to play.
Buoyed by runs of 14 and 43 yards from junior running back and Alabama transfer Dee Hart, CSU drove to the Eagles 9-yard line before stalling on three consecutive plays. Facing maybe his biggest down as a CSU quarterback, Grayson found Lovett wide open for his only catch of the game, extending his streak to 25 consecutive games with a catch.
Colorado State (3-1, 0-1 Mountain West) will now head home to face Tulsa in an “Orange Out” game next Saturday at Hughes Stadium. Saturday’s game will kick off at 1 p.m.
Collegian Sports Editor Keegan Pope can be reached at email@example.com and on Twitter @kpopecollegian.