Rams Get First Bowl Victory Since 2001

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - (AP) Colorado State's Gartrell Johnson was reluctant to talk about his career-high 285 yards rushing, so teammate Tommie Hill took over for him.

Sort of.

"I'm not going to give him credit because he got run down twice," Hill joked after Colorado State rallied for a 40-35 victory over Fresno State on Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl.

Johnson added 90 yards receiving for 375 total yards and scored two fourth-quarter touchdowns. All day long, he left defenders reaching for the dreadlocks tumbling out of his helmet.

Johnson set a Football Bowl Subdivision record for the most combined yards rushing and receiving in a postseason game. His yards rushing were the second-most ever in a bowl, trailing only a 307-yard effort by P.J. Daniels of Georgia Tech at the 2004 Humanitarian Bowl. It was also the second-best rushing performance in school history.

"It just feels great," Johnson said. "It's good for everyone."

Johnson sealed the victory on a 77-yard touchdown burst with 1:46 remaining, igniting a celebration by fans who made the 7-hour drive from Fort Collins, Colo. He was honored as the most valuable offensive player as Colorado State (7-6) won a bowl for the first time since 2001.

The Rams took their first lead at 33-28 when Farris threw a 69-yard TD to Rashaun Greer with seven minutes left. Fresno State cornerback Sharrod Davis took a big chance but whiffed on his attempt to bat the ball. Greer made the catch at the 30 and went untouched into the end zone.

"Give credit to Colorado State. They made big plays and kept the pressure on," Fresno State coach Pat Hill said.

The loss capped a rough season for the injury-depleted Bulldogs (7-6), who talked in fall workouts about a possible Bowl Championship Series run. They led 28-20 early in the fourth quarter.

Fans came out of the stands as the final seconds ticked off, capping a strong first season for coach Steve Fairchild.

"At one point Colorado State was the elite team in the Mountain West," said Fairchild, a former Rams quarterback. "We're not at that level yet, but it is our intention to get back."

The Rams trailed 21-20 after 6-foot-6 Kory Sperry caught a perfectly placed ball from Farris and beat two defenders in the corner of the end zone with two seconds remaining before halftime.

Fairchild got the Rams in a bowl for the first time since the 2005 Poinsettia Bowl and turned a corner from last year's 3-9 record, which led to the dismissal of Sonny Lubick.

"This game was big for a lot of reasons," Fairchild said. "It gave us a chance to play in a bowl game, gives our program a lot of momentum."


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