Boy, the Buffs came to play Sunday.
Colorado looked like a team on a mission when the 85th Rocky Mountain Showdown kicked off Sunday evening.
The Buffs jumped out to a 10-0 lead on an amazing 82-yard touchdown pass from Connor Wood to Paul Richardson and a Will Oliver field goal, and they widened their lead to 17-3 before Colorado State responded.
Kapri Bibbs capped off a long CSU drive with the team's first touchdown on the day before Oliver hit his second field goal of the day for the 20-10 halftime lead.
Right after half though, Colorado State stole the momentum, as Joe Hansley electrically took a punt return 74 yards to the house for a score. He dipped, dodged and danced his way through many would-be tacklers for the magical return score. Then, after a third made kick by Oliver, Thomas Coffman was nearly as electric, taking a kickoff 84 yards, setting up Bibbs' second touchdown of the game and the Rams first lead, 24-23 near the end of the third quarter.
The fourth quarter was CU's though; Oliver's 52-yard field goal regained the Buffaloes lead, and Greg Henderson's 53-yard fumble return touchdown widened that lead to 33-24.
CSU wouldn't stop playing, they fought hard to move down the field and kick another field goal, this time Jared Roberts made a 30-yarder and the Rams were down 33-27 with 3:47 to play.
Richardson answered with another huge touchdown to finish off the Rams, though. His 75 yard score put the Buffs up 14, their eventual winning margin, after the successful two-point conversion.
That two touchdown margin was all Colorado needed, as they won 41-27.
Colorado State ended the game with 284 return yards, and only 295 yards of offense while going a pitiful 2-13 on third downs. The Buffaloes, however, put up a stellar 509 yards of offense on the day. Richardson ended the game with eight catches for 208 yards and two touchdowns while Wood enjoyed his first ever 400-yard passing game.
The Buffs came out on fire, as Connor Wood connected with Paul Richardson on an 82-yard touchdown that was so wide open he could walk in. It was a blown coverage and CU blew the doors down for the 7-0 lead.
On their third drive, the Buffaloes marched down field on the Rams, making it all the way to the CSU five before faltering and having to kick the field goal. Will Oliver knocked home the 22-yarder to make the lead 10-0 CU.
Then the Rams finally came alive, when Garrett Grayson connected with Joe Hansley for a 40-yard pass just before the end of the first quarter. But, CSU's drive stalled and Jared Roberts kicked a 39-yarder through the uprights to make it 10-3 Colorado.
Colorado State couldn't complete first downs on third, punting the ball to CU twice in the second quarter, and the Buffs capitalized.
CU took the ball at CSU's 37, turning that great field position into another scoring drive. On 3rd-and-10, Connor Wood dropped back and threw a beautiful fade pass for a touchdown to D.D. Goodson for the 17-3 lead.
The Rams answered though, as Grayson hit Hansley for a 21-yard pass and a 15-yard pass interference penalty gave them the ball at CU's 35. Then, on third-and-three, CSU converted on third down for the first time all game, as Hansley caught another pass. Kapri Bibbs, who came into the game as the No. 3 running back, cruised into the end zone to make it 17-10 Buffs.
Colorado scored once more, a 41-yard field goal, and led 20-10 at halftime.
The second half is when the Rams stole momentum.
They forced a three-and-out and what happened next was magical.
Hansley became a legend, blowing past all of the Buffs defenders for an astounding 74-yard punt return touchdown. It was the first punt return TD for CSU since 2006 and it brought the game to within three points at 20-17.
CU battled back, though, putting another Oliver field goal on the board to lead 23-17 with 4:10 to play in the third quarter.
Then it happened, again. This time, it was Thomas Coffman who returned a kickoff 84 yards to give the Rams amazing field position. The Rams made sure to pound the ball in the end zone, again with Bibbs, this time from two yards out. It gave Colorado State their first lead of the game at 24-23 with three minutes to play in the third.
After CU's offense stalled again, Oliver hit another big field goal, this one a career-long of 52 yards for the 26-24 lead with 13:07 to play.
When the Rams took over, Bibbs was stripped and Greg Henderson picked up the ball and returned it 53 yards for a touchdown to widen the lead to 33-24.
Roberts made his 30-yard field goal, but the Rams didn't have enough to win as Richardson's big touchdown put a cap on the game.