FORT COLLINS, Colo. (AP) — Colorado State had blown two fourth quarter leads in a row. The Rams appeared headed for a third demoralizing defeat when Cal Poly kicker Bobby Zalud lined up for 32-yard field goal.
“I closed my eyes,” said Colorado State coach Jim McElwain before the kick. “I was a little frustrated with the way we came out after the half. I thought we walked around a bit.”
This time the Rams didn’t buckle and blow a lead. Instead Shaq Barrett broke through a gap to block Zalud’s attempt and Colorado State went on a time consuming drive to add an insurance touchdown.
Garrett Grayson threw for 297 yards and two touchdowns and Barrett blocked two field goals leading Colorado State to a 34-17 victory over Cal Poly on Saturday.
The Mustangs could have closed the gap to 27-20 with 8:11 left when Barrett made his second block.
“I saw the gap and timed it perfectly,” said Barrett. “Everything went perfectly.”
Colorado State followed the block with a 10-play, 68-yard drive culminated by a 6-yard touchdown pass from Grayson to Kivon Cartwright.
Grayson was 21-for-30 passing and had no turnovers. Chris Nwoke ran for 133 yards on 19 carries for Colorado State (1-2).
Jared Roberts converted two field goals for the Rams, who had blown fourth quarter leads in their first two games.
Chris Brown threw for 164 yards, ran for 61 and a touchdown for Cal Poly (1-2). Akaninyene Umoh ran for 54 yards and a TD.
Cal Poly, the co-champions of the Big Sky Conference a year ago, was outgained 533-367.
The Rams scored on 5-of-6 possessions including the final 14 points of the first half. Cal Poly trailed 13-10 after a 34-yard sprint by Umoh on the first play of the second quarter.
But Kapri Bibbs scored from the 1 after tackle Ty Sambrailo got the ball there on an 11-yard run on a lateral. Rashad Higgins caught a 36-yard TD pass from Grayson with 2:07 left in the second quarter.
Cal Poly’s defense held the Rams to one first down in the third quarter, but the Mustangs managed only a 23-yard TD pass from Brown to Tucker in the quarter.
“We can’t get down to teams like this and Fresno State,” Cal Poly coach Tim Walsh said. “We were 11 yards from making it a 27-24 game with about eight minutes to go. We have to find a way to score.”
The game was played as the area was beginning to recover from devastating flooding. Sonny Lubbick Field at Hughes Stadium is located minutes from areas severely hit.