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Washington State (6-6) vs. Colorado State (7-6)



Saturday, December 21, 2 p.m. (ET)

From The Sports Network

By Gregg Xenakes, Associate College Football Editor

GAME NOTES: The Colorado State Rams head back to Albuquerque for the second time in a span of just over a month as they clash with the Washington State Cougars in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday afternoon.

Kicking off the 2013-14 bowl season the Rams, who blew away New Mexico in this same stadium (66-42) back on Nov. 16, won three of their last four outings during the regular season. Colorado State, which lost the first two games and three of the first four, enter the weekend with their first winning record in the regular season since 2005, earning a spot in a bowl game for the first time since 2008.

As a head coach he has never faced off against Washington State while on the sidelines, but CSU's Jim McElwain shouldn't be all that unfamiliar with the Cougars since he played quarterback less than 70 miles away from Pullman at Eastern Washington in Cheney.

Over on the other side, Washington State had an up-and-down campaign as it split 12 outings. The team began with a close loss against Auburn (31-24) and followed that with a 10-7 victory against USC in the Pac-12 Conference opener the first week of September. During the middle of the season, the Cougars dropped three straight league dates before taking down Arizona and Utah. However, WSU closed with a 27-17 loss to Washington in their annual battle for the Apple Cup.

"Definitely frustrating," WSU quarterback Connor Halliday said of the loss to the Huskies. "I'm real close with the seniors on this team, so it sucks to go out this way. Just a tough loss all the way around."

Despite the loss to Washington, the Cougars still took a major step forward under head coach Mike Leach as the team advanced from just three wins a season earlier, a progression not lost on Halliday.

"Yeah, we definitely took a step forward. The biggest thing would be our mentality ... I don't know if that would have been the case last year or two years ago. The culture has changed, and Coach Leach knows what he's doing."

From a postseason standpoint, the Cougars have an all-time record of 6-4 dating back to the 1916 Rose Bowl, a 14-0 victory over Brown. More recently, the program took out Texas in the 2003 Holiday Bowl, 28-20. For the Rams, their postseason mark stands at 5-7.

This game marks the first-ever meeting between these two schools on the football field. Colorado State won this event back in 2008 versus Fresno State, 40-35, while last year's matchup between Arizona and Nevada went in favor of the Wildcats by a single point, 49-48.

One of the top passers in the country in terms of yardage, Halliday had a season of ups and downs for the Cougars. He set high marks in the Oregon game in October as he converted 58-of-89 passes for 557 yards, resulting in four touchdowns, but the Ducks were more than willing to concede all of those numbers in what turned into a 62-38 blowout. Halliday finished with 4,187 yards and 28 TDs through the air, but at the same time he was picked off 21 times.

Out on the receiving end, Halliday turned to Gabe Marks, Vince Mayle and Dom Williams, each of whom caught at least six TDs for the program.

While the passing attack at WSU ranked fourth in the country with 364.5 ypg, the running game was as weak as they came in the college ranks, placing last among 123 teams with a paltry 58.7 ypg, not all that uncommon for a Leach-led team.

Defensively, the Cougars were lit up for 446.6 ypg, ranking the group 101st in the country. The secondary was the most vulnerable as it surrendered 262.6 ypg (107th), although opponents still had to keep an eye on Deone Bucannon who not only led the unit with 109 tackles, he also tied for the team high with five interceptions and paced the group with three forced fumbles. Xavier Cooper gives the squad some punch at the point of attack, delivering 13 of his 47 total stops behind the line of scrimmage, as well as a team-best 4.5 sacks.

Colorado State's offense has been driven by the efforts of Kapri Bibbs who emerged as one of the top running backs in the country this season, becoming just the third player in program history to earn Walter Camp postseason honors. Bibbs didn't make his first start of the season until Week 6 versus San Jose State, but still he set the single-season school record for rushing touchdowns (28) and points (168), the latter averaging out to 12.9 per game which ranks him second in the nation.

"It's nice to see this recognition come for Colorado State football and for this University," said coach McElwain. "With all individual awards, they're only made possible by everyone doing their jobs around that individual. This speaks volumes not only for Kapri, but more so for the efforts of our football team."

Bibbs, who finished with 1,572 net rushing yards, had a stretch were he scored at least three touchdowns in six straight games, reaching the end zone six times alone in the win over New Mexico.

The Colorado State offense averaged 461.2 ypg this season to rank 28th in the country, thanks in part to quarterback Garrett Grayson who converted 62.1 percent of his passes for 3,327 yards and 21 TDs, against 10 interceptions on 428 attempts. Rashard Higgins and Kivon Cartwright did the most damage down the field with six TDs apiece through the air.

The big concern for the Rams will be how well their secondary will hold up against the WSU passing attack, especially after the group was stung for 265.4 ypg this season, ranking them 109th in the country. The run defense was much more aggressive (152.2 ypg allowed), but the guys up front and in the trenches will have to adjust their mode of attack in order to get after Halliday in the pocket more than anything else. Shaquil Barrett and his 20.5 tackles for loss and 12 sacks will be on display for all the world to see.

With Bibbs enjoying his greatest success this season in this particular stadium, rushing for a massive 298 yards on 38 attempts, karma is certainly on his side and that of the entire Rams team in this familiar venue. However, if the CSU pass defense can't at least slow down the Cougars it might not matter how well the Rams performed here recently.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Washington State 38, Colorado State 31

12/18 11:08:23 ET

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Scoreboard
Local
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
Final
UNCW 66
ECU 54
Final
CAR 2
NYR 3
Final
CHA 104
UTA 86
Final
WVU 83
NCSU 69
1:00pm Today
CAR
CLE
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
 
Final
NYK 90
PHO 99
Final
NOP 88
POR 114
Final
CHA 104
UTA 86
Final
HOU 97
ATL 104
Final
DAL 99
SAN 93
Final
DEN 76
IND 73
Final
LAC 106
MIL 102
3:30pm Today
TOR
NYK
 
4:30pm Today
CLE
MEM
 
6:00pm Tonight
MIA
BOS
 
6:00pm Tonight
BRK
DET
 
6:00pm Tonight
SAC
LAL
 
6:00pm Tonight
ORL
PHI
 
6:00pm Tonight
WAS
PHO
 
7:00pm Tonight
MIN
IND
 
7:00pm Tonight
OKC
NOP
 
Final
LALAF 16
NEV 3
Final
UTEP 6
UTST 21
Final
COLST 10
UTAH 45
Final
AFA 38
WMICH 24
Final
BGU 33
SALABAMA 28
Final
GEOR 81
CHAR 78
Final
WKENT 67
LOU 76
Final
MICH 51
SMU 62
Final
CIN 47
VCU 68
Final
BSU 77
ABCHRIST 33
 
Final
PROV 85
UMASS 65
Final
AMER 46
MNTER 45
 
Final
UNC 82
OSU 74
Final
IUPUI 71
SALA 65
 
Final
VILL 82
SYR 77
Final
VT 64
CITA 61
Final
DUQ 79
MLOWELL 63
 
Final
FAIR 61
BEL 73
 
Final
YALE 60
GTDNS 64
 
Final
FD 76
DEL 74
 
Final
PSU 73
DREX 68
Final
UNCG 64
ELON 71
 
Final
ILL 62
MIZZ 59
Final
CAMP 90
MONT 64
 
Final
LONG 106
PSUBEAVER 74
 
Final
HOU 63
SCST 71
 
Final
FSU 75
SFLA 62
Final
BING 51
BONA 69
 
Final
RUTG 68
RFLSH 73
 
Final
MCNST 69
TOL 83
 
Final
JVU 84
TRUETT 55
 
Final
GT 65
VANDY 60
Final
INDST 56
EILL 60
 
Final
BUT 73
IND 82
Final
STEPH 94
ARTCH 57
 
Final
OREG 83
DELST 70
 
Final
Terriers 61
FATL 56
 
Final
TXARL 89
HPYN 50
 
Final
KU 96
LAF 69
Final
ARKST 67
MARS 58
Final
MEM 78
ORU 63
Final
KNST 53
UMBC 66
 
Final
NW 67
WMICH 61
Final
MIZST 65
EMICH 77
 
Final
CHIST 77
STJOE 54
 
Final
KENT 83
UCLA 44
Final
COC 68
DAVID 80
Final
RIU 69
DET 55
Final
UCR 78
HOUB 67
 
Final
MURST 89
ILLST 77
 
Final
NWST 89
LALAF 85
 
Final
WAGN 66
MON 74
 
Final
MVSU 60
NCCU 94
 
Final
PITT 81
OU 77
Final
TENNM 77
PBY 60
 
Final
WYO 57
SOUTH 39
 
Final
AFA 75
UCD 81
Final
MSST 51
USCU 53
 
Final
JMU 71
HIGH 80
 
Final
TXST 90
HTILL 56
 
Final
DRAK 54
ISU 83
Final
SHU 73
UNH 60
 
Final
SCU 72
NE 78
 
Final
MSU 64
TXSOU 71
Final
UF 63
WAKE 50
Final
ND 94
PURD 63
Final
SHSU 61
PVU 44
 
Final
AUB 89
XAV 88
Final
AKR 92
BLUFFTON 53
 
Final
DAY 78
BU 62
 
Final
UNCW 66
ECU 54
Final
CLMB 82
HOF 77
 
Final
GMAS 86
IONA 81
Final
TOWS 53
LAS 67
Final
MAN 73
MRGST 69
 
Final
CCST 76
YALE 84
 
Final
PEPP 63
RICH 65
Final
MAR 58
STJOE 75
Final
KYST 71
TEXAM 64
Final
MAST 72
VALPO 75
 
Final
UMKC 104
INCWORD 110
 
Final
IDST 50
CALST 59
 
Final
NIOWA 56
IOWA 44
Final
SIUE 61
UWMIL 56
 
Final
TEX 78
LBSU 68
Final
TCU 88
TXSA 57
Final
ARK 84
SEMIZ 67
Final
NCOL 69
JVST 60
 
Final
ARST 81
LEH 84
 
Final
NMST 67
NMU 69
 
Final
WASH 69
OKLA 67
Final
GRCN 81
STED 55
 
Final
WEBER 73
WLVRN 61
 
Final
WVU 83
NCSU 69
Final
SDST 70
BST 57
Final
GONZ 63
CPSL 50
Final
PAC 71
FRES 68
 
Final
PORT 87
MNTST 60
 
Final
CSNO 68
TAMCC 75
 
Final
UTST 65
SDKST 68
 
Final
BYU 79
STAN 77
Final
UNLV 46
UTAH 59
 
12:00pm Today
UVA
HARV
 
1:00pm Today
BGU
FERST
 
1:00pm Today
ARMY
MAINE
 
1:00pm Today
QUIN
ORST
 
1:00pm Today
CLST
USF
 
1:30pm Today
CARK
CCAR
 
2:00pm Today
UWGB
ARKLR
 
2:00pm Today
RAD
CORN
 
2:00pm Today
UNT
CREI
 
2:00pm Today
CAN
HC
 
2:00pm Today
USB
GHND
 
2:00pm Today
OKST
MD
 
2:00pm Today
WINT
REIN
 
2:00pm Today
UGST
SMISS
 
2:00pm Today
NEOM
TXPA
 
2:00pm Today
STLU
VERM
 
2:00pm Today
UNCA
WCU
 
2:05pm Today
EVAN
ALAST
 
2:30pm Today
HART
FIU
 
2:35pm Today
VALPO
GOSHEN
 
3:00pm Today
LIP
PEAY
 
3:00pm Today
DEN
BRY
 
3:00pm Today
MONT
SD
 
3:00pm Today
MTST
TENST
 
3:00pm Today
SAMF
LAMON
 
3:30pm Today
SCAR
COKR
 
4:00pm Today
HAMP
NARZ
 
4:00pm Today
SDU
SDCHR
 
4:00pm Today
BC
USC
 
4:30pm Today
NICST
TROY
 
4:30pm Today
BRAD
UCI
 
6:00pm Tonight
UGA
SHU
 
6:30pm Tonight
ALA
APP
 
7:00pm Tonight
KSU
NDST
 
7:00pm Tonight
WASU
SJST
 
9:00pm Tonight
UTEP
ALCOR
 
10:00pm Tonight
SEAT
SACST
 
Final
LOS 4
ARI 2
Final
CLB 3
CHI 2
Final
BUF 1
COL 5
Final
PIT 3
FLA 1
Final
CAR 2
NYR 3
Final
MON 4
OTT 1
Final
TOR 4
PHI 7
Final
NYI 3
TAM 1
Final
NJD 0
WAS 4
Final
MIN 5
NAS 6
Final
VAN 3
CAL 2
Final
SJS 3
STL 2
6:00pm Tonight
DET
COL
 
6:00pm Tonight
EDM
DAL
 
7:00pm Tonight
BOS
BUF
 
7:00pm Tonight
NYR
CAR
 
7:00pm Tonight
CHI
TOR
 
9:00pm Tonight
WIN
PHI
 
Final
WAS 27
PHI 24
Final
SFX 35
SDC 38
1:00pm Today
NOS
ATL
1:00pm Today
HOU
BAL
1:00pm Today
CAR
CLE
1:00pm Today
CHI
DET
1:00pm Today
TAM
GBP
1:00pm Today
PIT
KAN
1:00pm Today
MIA
MIN
1:00pm Today
NYJ
NEP
4:05pm Today
STL
NYG
4:25pm Today
OAK
BUF
4:25pm Today
DAL
IND
8:30pm Tonight
ARI
SEA