Needing a win to become bowl eligible, the Colorado State Rams completely dominated the New Mexico Lobos 49-31 in the final game played at Hughes Stadium. It is being replaced by a $220 million on campus stadium that is expected to be completed in time for the 2017 season.
It was all about the run game for the Rams, both producing on offense and slowing down the Lobos on defense. This was not just any running game, it was the #1 ranked rushing attack in the nation. They were up to the task, especially in the first half, in holding the Lobos to under 60 total yards on the ground. Only when backup Lamar Jordan came in late in the second quarter did New Mexico see any real success on the ground.
The Rams, looking to send Hughes Stadium out with a bang, scored touchdowns on four of their first five possessions in route to a 28-7 lead. The Lobos made a change at quarterback and pulled three points closer at the end of the half on a 51-yard field goal. That sent the game to the half with Colorado State leading 28-10.
Looking to extinguish and hope of a second half comeback by New Mexico, the Rams took all of three plays to find the end zone once more. This time, quarterback Nick Stevens found Michael Gallup on the left sideline and he raced for a 65-yard touchdown. The Rams added two more touchdowns on drives of three and two plays that turned a comfortable lead into a blowout at 49-17.
New Mexico made the final scoreline look a bit better with some garbage points, but were still unable to slow down the Colorado State offense enough to significantly cut into the deficit.
The Rams ended the night with 412 yards on the ground, 206 yards more than their season average. Izzy Matthews and Dalyn Dawkins combined for 209 yards on 24 carries with Marvin Kinsey Jr. adding another 127 yards on 10 carries. As a team, Colorado State rushed for 9.8 yards per carry.
With a tough trip to San Diego State in the season finale next week, it was important for the Rams to get their sixth win of the season tonight. They are now bowl eligible with four of their six wins coming over MWC opponents. The other two wins came over UTSA and Northern Colorado in non-conference action.
New Mexico falls to 7-4 on the year and ends any hope of somehow playing for the MWC title. They had a chance, albeit tiny, for a series of games to fall in their favor for them to win the division. This loss officially eliminates the Lobos from contention and means that only Boise State or Wyoming can head to the title game to face San Diego State.
Instead, New Mexico can play spoiler in their regular season finale versus Wyoming. If they beat Wyoming and Boise State defeats Air Force in the final week of the season, the Broncos would head to the conference title game. If Wyoming defeats New Mexico, the result of the Boise State game does not matter as the Cowboys hold the head to head tiebreaker.
New Mexico may have a couple of questionable losses on their schedule (hello NMSU), but they are light years ahead of where they were previously. Davie will lead the Lobos to back to back bowl games for the first time in eight seasons, back when Rocky long was leading the team. Who knows, maybe they will actually get to go somewhere else for once as their last three bowl games have been at home in the New Mexico Bowl.