Colorado State came into the Rocky Mountain Showdown expecting to win, but they were beaten handily, 41-27 by Colorado Sunday.
To start the game, Donnell Alexander was the team's starting running back and enjoyed a few decent runs. But he was pulled from the game after the Rams' first drive, due to a hand injury that was disclosed closer to halftime.
Senior Chris Nwoke stepped in, but he couldn't gain momentum or gain many yards.
So redshirt sophomore Kapri Bibbs came into game on offense, and he came alive for CSU.
Bibbs was easily the team's top running back Sunday, showing lively legs and much-needed speed.
With his Rams down 17-3, Bibbs capped off a long drive with an essential touchdown to keep Colorado State in the contest. Quarterback Garrett Grayson dropped back, faked a pass and handed it off to Bibbs, who went around the left side to daylight and the first TD of the day.
In the third quarter, Bibbs' two-yard touchdown through the middle of the CU defensive line showed off the power in his legs, and it gave Colorado State their first lead of the day, at 24-23.
Everything was going great, both for the young running back – who finally was proving his worth after missing last season due to poor grades – and his team. They had the momentum at that point and victory was within their reach.
Until it happened.
With his Rams now down 26-24, Bibbs caught a short pass from Grayson, tried to turn up field but was turned around by Chidera Uzo-Diribe and stripped of the ball. Buffs linebacker Greg Henderson picked up the bouncing ball and quickly took it 53 yards for the nail-in-the-coffin touchdown.
“Yeah, Bibbs did alright,” head coach Jim McElwain said of his running back following the game. “You know, he had a little juice in his legs. I'd like to see him keep his feet. Thought he could have had a couple home runs actually, keeping his feet. But, we put one on the ground. Can't do that and play successful football.
“But, he did, he came in and energized us a little bit,” Coach Mac continued. “Donnell, we've got to look at that hand and see kind of what's going to happen there.”
Yes, much is in the air when it comes to CSU's ground game.
The extent of Alexander's injury is unknown, and if it's severe, the Rams' homerun hitter could sit for a while. Nwoke just didn't have it Sunday, so it may be Bibbs as a main running option going forward.
Of course, their offense's biggest bugaboo was the inability to convert on third downs – they were 2-14 on the critical plays – and CSU will have to figure out how to sustain drives if they want to win games.
The 0-1 Rams face the 0-1 Tulsa Drillers in Tulsa, Oklahoma Saturday.
(Note: We are unable to talk to Bibbs due to him not being available to the media.)
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