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(Saturday, September 28)
Final Score: Colorado State 59, Texas-El Paso 42
Fort Collins, CO (Sports Network) - Garrett Grayson finished with 307 yards and three touchdowns through the air as the Colorado State Rams defeated the Texas-El Paso Miners, 59-42, in a non-conference matchup at Hughes Stadium.
Grayson completed 17-of-28 pass attempts and also scored a rushing touchdown for Colorado State (2-3) as it picked up its fifth consecutive home win. Rashard Higgins and Kivon Cartwright made two touchdown catches each. Higgins tallied a game-high 156 yards on six catches while Cartwright contributed 56 yards on two receptions. Kapri Bibbs was a game changer as he racked up 147 yards and three touchdowns on just 13 carries.
Despite the loss, Jameill Showers had a strong showing for the Miners (1-3) as he completed 26-of-43 passes for 365 yards and five touchdowns. Jordan Leslie caught three passes en route to 130 yards and two touchdowns. Eric Tomlinson reeled in a team-high eight receptions for 75 yards and a score while Aaron Jones gained 94 yards on 23 rushes.
The Rams took control of the game early as Grayson completed a 22-yard touchdown pass to Cartwright less than two minutes after the opening kickoff.
UTEP answered as Showers completed a two-yard touchdown pass to Darrin Laufasa to conclude a 14-play, 75-yard drive. Jay Mattox chipped in his extra point attempt to even the score at seven at the 6:30 mark of the first quarter. CSU then used a 21-0 run to create some distance on the scoreboard.
Grayson found Higgins from six yards away for his second touchdown pass of the game with 1:43 left in the opening frame. The Rams then scored on an eight- yard run by Kapri Bibbs and a on a fake field goal as Joe Hansley completed a 34-yard pass to Cartwright that went for six points.
CSU took a 28-7 lead into the intermission before the Miners came storming back in the third quarter thanks to a pair of big plays by Leslie. UTEP scored a touchdown 11 seconds into the second half as Leslie hauled in a 75-yard pass from Showers. The junior wideout caught a 45-yard touchdown pass less than two minutes later to bring the Miners within seven points.
UTEP continued its rally as Showers punched it in from a yard out with just over eight minutes left in the third period Mattox converted the ensuing extra point attempt to tie it up at 28.
The Rams responded with a strong drive into UTEP's territory. After the offense stalled, Jared Roberts' 35-yard field goal attempt sailed wide left. Shaqui Barrett registered two sacks on Showers when the Miners took over. Barrett jarred the ball loose on the second sack and Brander Craighead recovered the fumble in the end zone which resulted in a safety.
CSU extended its lead to 37-28 with 3:32 left in the third frame as Grayson and Higgins hooked up on a 50-yard touchdown pass.
The Rams carried their momentum into the fourth quarter as Bibbs scored on a 37-yard run with just over 14 minutes left to play. Donnell Alexander managed to get past the defense when CSU elected to go for two following the touchdown to give his squad a 45-28 lead.
After the Miners were stopped on fourth-and-long in CSU territory, the Rams drove 74 yards on four plays to set up a one-yard sneak across the goal line by Grayson.
UTEP's offense ended the drought as Showers completed an eight yard touchdown pass to Tomlinson with just under four minutes left to play. He also completed a pass to Leslie for a successful two-point conversion. CSU answered 50 seconds later with a 34-yard touchdown run by Bibbs.
The Miners added a touchdown as time expired when Showers found Craig Wenrick for a 21-yard touchdown pass. With no time remaining and a 17-point deficit, UTEP elected not to attempt an extra point which left CSU with a 59-42 lead at the conclusion of the contest.
Both defenses had trouble getting stops. The Rams amassed 591 yards on 63 offensive plays while UTEP gained 497 yards of total offense on 90 plays. CSU rushed for 250 yards and averaged 7.4 yards per carry.
09/28 20:17:03 ET
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