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How CSU got to the Las Vegas Bowl

CSU (0-0) vs. Colorado

The Rams got their season started the right way by grinding out a win in the Rocky Mountain Showdown. Doubts about the running game were quelled by the 1-2 punch of Dee Hart and Treyous Jarrells, who both rushed for over 100 yards. Hart scored two touchdowns and Jarrells found the endzone as well to help lift CSU to a 31-17 win and start the season 1-0.

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CSU (1-0) vs. Boise State

CSU had the unfortunate task of playing at Boise in just the second game of the year. The Rams began to find their rhythm in the passing game as receivers Rashard Higgins and Joe Hansley both posted over 100 receiving yards, but ultimately fell short as Boise State running back Jay Ajayi was downright unstoppable. He torched the defense for 280 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns as the Broncos handed the Rams a 37-24 loss, their first loss of the season.

CSU (1-1) vs. UC Davis

Senior quarterback Garrett Grayson and company had their way with the FCS challenger as the Rams got back on the winning track. Higgins hauled in two touchdowns and 147 receiving yards, and Elroy Masters turned in 112 receiving yards. Grayson had a field day throwing for 425 yards and four touchdowns as CSU easily disposed of UC-Davis by a score of 49-21 and improved to 2-1.

CSU (2-1) vs. Boston College

Two first quarter interceptions put CSU in an early hole down two touchdowns. The Rams kept their cool and brought themselves back with a balanced offensive effort. The CSU defense came up with crucial stops throughout the contest, including a fourth quarter interception by Bernard Blake. A highlight reel touchdown catch by Charles Lovett with just over a minute left in the game helped give the Rams a 24-21 win as they moved to 3-1 on the season.

CSU (3-1) vs. Tulsa

CSU gave their Fort Collins crowd quite a show as they blew out the Golden Hurricane. The offense was firing on all cylinders against the Golden Hurricane with Higgins going for 178 receiving yards and four touchdowns while Hart ran for 143 yards and two touchdowns on just 11 carries. Backup quarterback Nick Stevens even saw some action in the fourth quarter and threw his first career touchdown as the Rams moved to 4-1 with a 42-17 rout of Tulsa.

CSU (4-1) vs. Nevada

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The Rams appeared to be headed for another blowout up 31-3 late in the third quarter but then their offense suddenly stalled and the defense could not get a stop. Nevada quarterback Cody Fajardo took over and the Wolfpack scored three unanswered touchdowns to put them in a position to tie with less than a minute on the clock. An interception in the endzone by DeAndre Elliot saved the day for CSU as they were able to escape Reno with 31-24 win to put them at 5-1 on the season.

CSU (5-1) vs. Utah State

Billed as the toughest test left on the schedule, Utah State gave the Rams all they can handle as the teams engaged in a back-and-forth defensive battle in front of the first sold-out crowd at Hughes Stadium since 2004. With both teams struggling offensively, it was Higgins who proved to be the difference. He finished with 187 receiving yards, 46 of which came on a big catch in the final minute to set up the game-winning field goal. Jared Roberts sailed a 46-yard field goal through the uprights as time expired to give CSU a 16-13 win and move them to 6-1.

CSU (6-1) vs. Wyoming

CSU kept the Bronze Boot in Fort Collins as Grayson carved up Wyoming’s defense by completing 85 percent of his passes and throwing for 5 touchdowns. Higgins turned in another monster performance with 174 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The Rams came away with a 45-31 win in the Border War in front of their second consecutive sell-out crowd and improved to 7-1.

CSU (7-1) vs. San Jose State

The Spartans proved to be a stern test for the Rams but failed to convert on fourth down after recovering an onside kick late in the game, allowing CSU to come away with a 38-31 win. Higgins added to his resume in his fifth straight game with over 100 receiving yards but it was Hart who stole the show with four rushing touchdowns to give CSU their seventh consecutive win and push their record to 8-1.

CSU (8-1) vs. Hawaii

Even without the services of Rashard Higgins, CSU’s offense shined in a blowout of Hawaii. Lovett had 134 receiving yards and a touchdown, and the 1-2 punch of Hart and Jarrells hit hard. Jarrells rushed for two touchdowns and Hart found the endzone once as well while rushing for 115 yards. The Rams rolled to a 49-22 win and improved to 9-1.

CSU (9-1) vs. New Mexico

On senior night at Hughes Stadium, it was the junior Hart who stole the show. He scored six touchdowns and rushed for 230 yards in the Rams final home game. Higgins did not miss a step in his return either, posting 167 receiving yards and two touchdowns. CSU’s high powered offense was too much for the Lobos, resulting in a 58-20 win to give the Rams their 10th win of the season.

CSU (10-1) vs. Air Force

There was no story book ending in the book for the Rams. The Falcons spoiled the party with their triple-option offense and a great performance from their defense. A risky decision by Jim McElwain to go for it on fourth down in the final minute proved to be costly. Air Force got the stop and moved the ball into field goal range, setting up the game winning 39-yard kick from Will Conant as time expired. The Falcons 27-24 win dropped CSU’s record to 10-2 and put an end to their nine-game winning streak.

FINAL RECORD: 10-2

Collegian Sports Reporter Emmett McCarthy can be reached at sports@collegian.com and on Twitter @emccarthy22. 

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