FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — Abelardo Perez kicked a 37-yard field goal with 5:49 left and Ryan Lindley threw for 154 yards and a touchdown on a record-setting night as San Diego State defeated Colorado State 18-15 Saturday night.
Lindley improved to 11,494 career passing yards to pass former BYU quarterback Max Hall’s 11,365 for the Mountain West Conference record and Todd Santos’ 11,425 for the San Diego State mark.
Ronnie Hillman, the nation’s second-leading rusher, ran for 80 yards on 24 carries for San Diego State (6-3, 3-2 Mountain West). But Colorado State’s Chris Nwoke had better numbers, rushing 22 times for 232 yards and a touchdown.
Colorado State (3-6, 1-3) lost quarterback Pete Thomas to a strained left knee early in the second quarter. The Rams have lost five straight.
The game was tied 15-15 before the Aztecs mixed the pass and the run to reach the Colorado State 20. Perez, who had missed from 22 and 44 yards earlier, was right down the middle.
Nwoke scored on the game’s fifth possession. He broke through a huge hole off left tackle and ran away from the San Diego State defense on a 63-yard scoring run. That was the Rams’ longest running play since Gartrell Johnson ran for a 77-yard TD in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl.
The lead was short-lived. Brandon Davis ran back the ensuing kickoff to the San Diego State 48. Thirteen plays later, Alston Umuolo caught a 4-yard pass from Lindley with 21 seconds left in the first quarter. The Aztecs made a two-point conversion when Colorado State linebacker Shaquil Barrett batted the ball into the hands of Chad Young in the end zone.
Thomas injured his left knee and limped off the field on the last play of a three-and-out. He was listed with a strained left knee.
San Diego State’s Walter Kazee bulled over from the 1 to increase the lead to 15-7 midway through the second quarter.
Nwoke appeared to set up the Rams to score when he ran 67 yards to the San Diego State 20. But Thomas’ replacement, Garrett Grayson, fumbled while scrambling, and the Aztecs’ Miles Burris recovered.
San Diego State let a scoring chance slip away at the end of the half when Perez hit the left upright on a 22-yard field goal attempt.
Perez was wide left from 44 yards out with 4:50 to go in the third quarter. The Rams had the ball for only four plays in the period.
Colorado State tied it at 15 with 9:45 to go, benefitting from two personal fouls, to set up Grayson’s sneak from the 1. Grayson broke a pair of tackles to get the two-point conversion and tie the game.
(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)