DENVER (AP) – Jim McElwain became the first Colorado State coach to win his debut in 42 years Saturday when the Rams rallied past their arch rival for a 22-17 win over the Colorado Buffaloes.
Garret Grayson completed 14 of 21 passes for 173 yards and two touchdowns and Jared Roberts kicked two fourth-quarter field goals after the Rams had fallen behind 17-16.
Grayson outdueled Kansas transfer Jordan Webb, who was 22 of 41 for 187 yards and two TDs for the Buffaloes.
McElwain, the former offensive coordinator at defending national champion Alabama, became the first Rams coach to win his debut since Jerry Wampfler in 1970. None of other 12 Rams coaches who have faced Colorado had ever beaten the Buffs on their first try.
Will Oliver‘s 30-yard field goal put the Buffaloes ahead 17-16 early in the fourth quarter, but Jared Roberts of Colorado State hit from 48 yards out with 6:39 left to put the Rams back on top, 19-17.
PHOTO GALLERY: Rocky Mountain Showdown 2012
After the Buffs went three-and-out, the Rams had to salt this one away with backups because tailback Chris Nwoke was on the sideline with what was described as a lower leg injury.
Freshman Donnell Alexander took off on a 37-yard run, and Terrel Smith‘s face mask penalty tacked on another 15 yards. But the Buffs stood their ground, forcing the Rams to settle for another field goal, this one from 32 yards out with 2:56 remaining.
Webb found freshman Nelson Spruce eight times for 64 yards, including a sliding 12-yard grab on fourth-and-7 from the 28 before hitting him for a 15-yard touchdown that put the Buffs ahead 7-3.
Webb’s second TD toss, a 9-yarder to Tyler McCulloch, came after Matthews was whistled for pass interference on a fourth-and-5 pass from the Rams 30.
Matthews’ recovery of a muffed punt by D.D. Goodson at the Colorado 20 got the Rams back into the game just before halftime. On the next play, Grayson found Dominique Vinson uncovered for the score with 26 seconds left in the half. Pericak, however, blocked Jared Roberts‘ extra point, leaving the Rams trailing 14-9 at the break.
Freshman Joe Hansley hauled in Grayson’s pass in the left flat and weaved his way 32 yards for the score that put Colorado State ahead 16-14 in the third quarter.
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Pro Football Writer
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