ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- With less than 2 minutes to play and Colorado State down by eight points, Shaquil Barrett knew the Rams needed the ball back quickly to finish an improbable comeback against Washington State.
Once down by 22 points in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, the Rams got their chance when Cougars running back Jeremiah Laufasa came barreling toward Barrett.
"I was kind of thinking in my mind, yeah, 'That was our shot to get back in the game right there,' " said Barrett, who stripped the ball. "I really didn't think I was going to get the opportunity."
That fumble, at the Cougars 33, set up Kapri Bibbs' 1-yard run score and Donnell Alexander's two-point conversion run that tied it at 45 with 33 seconds left.
Something In The Albuquerque Air
Saturday's New Mexico Bowl was the second straight in which the winning team scored at least 10 points in the final minute to prevail:
Pts in last 1:00
-- ESPN Stats & Information
Then, Washington State's Teondray Caldwell fumbled a kickoff return at the 24, setting up Jared Roberts' 41-yard field goal as time expired gave Colorado State a 48-45 victory Saturday in the bowl season's opening game.
It was a quarterback shootout that saw close to 800 passing yards combined and a game largely dominated by Washington State until the last 2 minutes.
And Colorado State did not have a led the entire game until that winning field goal.
"That win right there...it's pretty amazing how it worked but at the end of the day, it's about being resilient," Rams coach Jim McElwain. "It's about understanding (that) every play has a history and life of its own."
Garrett Grayson threw for 369 yards and Bibbs ran for 169 yards and three touchdowns for Colorado State (8-6). The Rams overcame three early turnovers.
"I'm still kind of at a loss for words about how that whole thing ended up," Rams center Weston Richburg said. "It must have been destiny. That's the most unbelievable game I've ever been a part of."
Meanwhile, Washington State's Connor Halliday threw touchdown passes to six receivers and finished with 410 yards for Washington State (6-7). Those six touchdown passes tied West Virginia's Geno Smith and Iowa's Chuck Long for an NCAA bowl record.
After the first touchdown pass, Halliday got into a shouting match with a Colorado State coach when Halliday ran into the Rams' sideline. That exchange created a social media buzz and McElwain vowed look into it.
"Coach grabbed me and said some profane things to me and that's all I'll say about it," Halliday said.
Washington State scored 35 points in the first half, but had only 10 in the second. With the game winding down, a lack of a running game forced the Cougars to stay with their spread offense and prevented them for running down the clock when ahead by 15 points in the fourth quarter.
"Colorado State finished the game. We didn't," Washington State coach Mike Leach said. "They finished the game better than we did. The lesson to be learned from that is it doesn't matter where you're at. You need to go out and finish the game."
Washington State rushed for minus-10 yards total.
The match-up brought together two second-year coaches working to turn around their teams' fortunes with high-octane offenses.
Colorado State had not played in a postseason game since 2008. Washington State had not been in a bowl game since 2003.
McElwain predicted the bowl victory would help the Rams with recruiting and said it was evidence how far the program had come.
"Unbelievable," McElwain said. "You don't write scripts like this."
It was over when... Colorado State kicker Jared Roberts booted a 41-yard field goal as time expired, capping an epic meltdown by Washington State.
Gameball goes to... CSU running back Kapri Bibbs, who was nursing a turf-toe injury, rushed for 169 yards on 27 carries with three touchdowns, including a 75-yard effort.
Stat of the game... The Cougars rushed for minus-10 yards. And when they tried to run the ball in order to kill the clock, it became a comedy of errors.
Jordon Vaden 12 Yd Pass From Garrett Grayson (Jared Roberts Kick)
Kapri Bibbs 1 Yd Run (Donnell Alexander Run For Two-Point Conversion)
Jared Roberts 41 Yd
Washington State's Connor Halliday is the 7th quarterback in the last 10 seasons to throw for at least 6 touchdowns in a loss. He's the 3rd quarterback this season to accomplish that feat, joining Fresno State's Derek Carr against San Jose State and Hawaii's Sean Schroeder against Wyoming.
Halliday is the first quarterback in bowl history to throw for 6 touchdowns in a loss.
This is the second straight time that the winning team has scored at least 10 points in the final minute to win the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Last season, Arizona scored 14 points in the final 46 seconds to beat Nevada 49-48.
Something in the Air in Albuquerque - Last 2 Gildan New Mexico Bowls
Pts in last 1:00
Winning score at
With his 2nd rushing touchdown of the game, Colorado State's Kapri Bibbs became the 3rd player in FBS history with 30 rushing touchdowns in a season. Bibbs finished with 3 rushing touchdowns for 31 on the season.