Saturday night's game between the Colorado State Rams and the San Jose State Spartans came down to the final minute. After a 17-14 halftime score, both offenses came out with something to prove. With the first four possessions turning into scoring drives to open the second half, the Rams finally got some breathing room, leading 38-24 with 5:09 left in the game. The Rams appeared to have sealed the game when safety Trent Matthews intercepted San Jose State's Joe Gray's pass. However, on the return, Matthews had the stripped by Spartan wide receiver Hansell Wilson. Gray then led the Spartans on a 91-yard touchdown drive, capping it with a 4-yard touchdown rush with 2:27 left on the clock.
If that's not enough drama, the Spartans recovered the ensuing onside kick, only to learn that they had jumped offsides. Backing up five yards, the Spartans attempted another onside kick. After bouncing off of Colorado State's Aaron Davis, San Jose State jumped on the ball to recover the onside kick again. Unfortunately for San Jose State, that is where the drama ends, as Gray failed to lead the offense to a first down, allowing the Rams to take over and line up in victory formation to end the game.
San Jose State's Gray had a solid night for the Spartans, completing 51 percent of his passes for 308 yards and two touchdowns. Gray's low point of the night came in the fourth quarter inside Colorado State's 20 yard line. Gray attempted to avoid a sack by throwing the ball away, but instead of throwing the ball away he tossed an ill-advised under hand throw and the ball went right into the arms of Rams linebacker Aaron Davis. Running back Tyler Ervin led all rushers on the night with 149 yards on 18 carries, scoring on an 89-yard run following a failed Colorado State fake field goal early in the second quarter. Tyler Winston was the top Spartan receiver, catching six passes for 76 yards and a touchdown.
The Rams overcame some major adversity en route to their victory. In the first quarter, quarterback Garrett Grayson injured his right knee, which hindered his mobility. In the first half it looked as if the injury was going to force Grayson to have to miss some time. However, Grayson played through the pain and led the Rams offense for the win. Grayson had another efficient day, completing 22 out of 28 passes for 290 yards and a touchdown.
Entering the game with a top rated pass defense, only allowing 1 passing touchdown on the season, San Jose State knew that they were going to have a difficult task of covering the nation's top wide out in Rashard Higgins. Higgins showed why he is the best in the country, catching a 44 yard pass on the game's first offensive play. Higgins ended the day witheight8 receptions for 143 yards and a touchdown. Higgins, however, left the game in the fourth quarter after he landed on his shoulder while hauling in a 55-yard pass from Grayson. His injury is currently unknown.
The main star of the night for Colorado State was Dee Hart and the Colorado State offensive line who controlled the line of scrimmage for most of the night. Hart had one of his best games as a Ram, rushing for 104 yards on 24 carries, but more importantly, scoring 4 touchdowns. Hart showed why he was once considered a top high school football player in the country. He showed his ability to reach the edge with his quickness while he also showed the ability (and want to) to run through defenders. Hart dominated the Ram's running back rotation tonight with 24 carries, compared to backfield partner Treyous Jarrell's five touches.
With the win, Colorado State moves to 8-1 on the year, 4-1 in the Mountain West. San Jose State falls to 3-5, 2-2 in the conference. Both San Jose State and Colorado State are still in contention to reach the Mountain West Championship game. San Jose State sits one loss behind San Diego State in the West division, tied with Fresno and Nevada with two conference losses. Colorado State sits second in the Mountain division due to a tie breaker loss to Boise State. If the Rams want a shot at the conference championship, they must take care of business and hope that Boise State loses one more conference game. The Spartans travel to Fresno next week for a match-up with division opponent Fresno State, while the Rams host Hawaii next Saturday night.