CSU salvages win over UNM

Late defensive stands for Rams

Colorado State defenders Trent Matthews and Bernard Blake knocked the ball away from New Mexico receiver Quintell Solomon during Saturday night’s game in Fort Collins. Enlarge photo

Rich Abrahamson/The Fort Collins Coloradoan

Colorado State defenders Trent Matthews and Bernard Blake knocked the ball away from New Mexico receiver Quintell Solomon during Saturday night’s game in Fort Collins.

FORT COLLINS

Conner Smith threw a fourth-quarter touchdown pass, and Kevin Pierre-Louis batted away a last-play pass in the end zone as Colorado State held on to defeat New Mexico 24-20 on Saturday night.

With the Rams trailing 20-17 with 3:06 left, Smith, who was 19 of 26 for 254 yards and two touchdown passing, took over at the Colorado State 24.

It took seven plays and a key 6-yard run on fourth and 2 by Chris Nwoke to set up a 30-yard pass to Joe Hansley with 1:29 left.

Donnell Alexander ran for 112 yards for the Rams (4-8, 3-5 Mountain West).

After Hansley’s touchdown, B.J. Holbrook was 5 of 6 passing and ran for 6 yards in driving the Lobos (4-9, 1-7) to the Colorado State 16, but missed his next two passes.

After a timeout, Holbrook, who was 12 of 21 for 205 yards and a touchdown, attempted to get a pass to Cory Wiggins in the end zone, but Pierre-Louis got in the way.

Kasey Carrier was limited to 59 yards rushing for New Mexico, well below his season average of 128 yards. The Lobos’ rushing offense, ranked No. 4 in the country averaging 315 yards per game, was held to 137 yards.

Holbrook appeared to have the game wrapped up for New Mexico when he threw a 55-yard touchdown pass to Jhrurell Pressley with 3:12 left.

New Mexico trailed 17-7 at halftime but shut down the Rams’ offense in the third quarter. Justus Adams closed the gap to 17-10 with a 38-yard field goal in the third quarter.

The Lobos closed the gap to 17-13 on Adams’ 30-yard field goal with 10:28 left in the game. The drive was kept alive when Colorado State defensive end Calvin Tonga jumped offside on a punt from the Lobos’ 18.

Colorado State won three in a row at home for the first time since 2008.

New Mexico was denied its first five-win season since 2007.

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