CSU FALLS TO IDAHO 61-50 IN POTATO BOWL
CSU scores three late touchdowns to close gap on rout
boise, idaho» Colorado State had seen this before.
An offense marching up and down the field with seemingly little resistance being applied, and it was fun the first time.
Because it was them, and they were doing it to San Diego State to end the regular season, a 63-31 victory that had the Rams flying high heading into bowl season.
Thursday night’s Famous Idaho Potato Bowl was a repeat performance, only it was in reverse and it wasn’t nearly as pleasant.
After 15 minutes of play, Colorado State (7-6) and Idaho (9-4) had combined for two first downs, and the game was at a standstill as the footing on the blue turf of Boise State’s field looked like it really was ice.
Colorado State cracked it first, and promptly fell in. Idaho responded, then proceeded to skate through the Rams’ defense for a record-setting 61-50 victory, a deceptive final score as CSU scored three late touchdowns after falling behind 61-28 midway through the fourth quarter.
Idaho is now undefeated in bowl games (3-0), all played in Boise. Colorado State dropped its third straight bowl game and still has not won on the blue field at Albertsons Stadium.
“We tried some different things this year in preparation,” Colorado State coach Mike Bobo told The Associated Press after the game. “You want to finish up strong. That onus falls on me. That’s the position I’m in
as the head coach.”
Losing to the perennially tough Broncos has been understandable. Getting popped by a team the Rams were favored to beat by better than two touchdowns and is one more season away from dropping to the FCS level left the Rams far short of the finish to the season they craved.
Once Idaho found a groove, it stayed there and upped the ante in scoring touchdowns on five straight drives and nine out of 10 possessions to beat a team with a winning record for the first time this season, scoring the most points in the 20-year history of the bowl game.
Vandals quarterback Matt Linehan, who started just 1-of-6 in the game, starting finding open receivers and running back Isaiah Saunders was hitting seams in the heart of the CSU front seven.
It was an onslaught that led to those five consecutive touchdown drives for Idaho, with Saunders rushing for two scores and Linehan throwing for two and running for another.
Even when CSU’s defense finally picked up a stop, it didn’t work out as the Idaho punt was muffed by Robert Ruiz, setting up the Vandals on the CSU 14. A few plays later, Linehan threw his third touchdown pass of the game, his second to Jacob Sannon.
Linehan finished 21-of-31 passing for 381 yards and four touchdowns in the game to earn MVP honors. Deon Watson caught five of those for 140 yards, including a 74yard scoring connection, and Saunders did more than find the end zone, rushing for 147 yards and adding a third touchdown run in the fourth quarter.
On the second play of the second quarter, quarterback Nick Stevens hit a wide-open Bisi Johnson on a deep post route, a 52-yard score that gave the Rams the initial lead.
Stevens was off target and struggled as the Vandals built a lead. He did gain traction late when the game was out of hand, throwing a trio of touchdown passes to Michael Gallup (12, 60 yards and 3 yards) and again finding Johnson deep (73 yards).
Stevens finished with a career-best 445 passing yards, five touchdowns and two interceptions, though most of it came with the outcome already decided as the two teams combined for 56 points in the fourth quarter.
Idaho wide receiver Alfonso Onunwor catches a deep pass against Colorado State defensive back Kevin Nutt during the first half Thursday night at the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in Boise. Loren Orr, Getty Images
Idaho running back Aaron Duckworth gains yardage during the second half Thursday night in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl against Colorado State in Boise. Otto Kitsinger, The Associated Press