Air Force Falcons quarterback Karson Roberts (16) prepares to pass against Colorado State on Nov. 30 at Hughes Stadium. The Rams defeated the Falcons 58-13. (Ron Chenoy / USA Today)
FORT COLLINS, COLO. — The only consolation for the Air Force Falcons was they didn’t get shut out for the first time since 1992.
The Falcons extended their scoring streak to 258 straight games when Colton Huntsman scored on a 13-yard run against subs with five minutes left in a 58-13 loss to the Colorado State Rams on Saturday night.
The Falcons’ streak is the fourth-longest active streak in the nation and ninth-longest in big-school history.
Backup quarterback Karson Roberts added an 11-yard run with 2:40 left that kept the Falcons from enduring their largest margin of defeat ever, which came in a 49-0 loss at Notre Dame in 1977.
“We didn’t do our part,” said Falcons starting quarterback Nate Romine, who was reminded the last time the program failed to score was Dec. 31, 1992, when it was beaten 13-0 by Mississippi in the Liberty Bowl. “A good offense is a good defense, too.”
This was still was the Falcons’ worst loss to the Rams in this series that dates to 1957.
Kapri Bibbs ran for three touchdowns, Garrett Grayson threw for 395 yards and three TDs and Colorado State clinched bowl eligibility for the first time in five years with its big victory.
“We got bounced around today and frankly, we got bounced around a bunch throughout the season,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said.
The Falcons posted their worst record since going 2-9-1 in 1980. They lost 10 games for the first time in the program’s history and went winless in conference play for the first time since joining the Western Athletic Conference in 1980.
“Any time you end your season like this, let alone lose the game like that it is tough,” said Romine. “You have to send your seniors out better and you want to start the offseason on a good note.”
Bibbs leads all FBS players with 28 touchdown runs, two more than Navy quarterback Keenan Reynolds, who has one game left, at Army on Dec. 14. His seven games with three or more TD runs is an FBS record.
Grayson topped Terry Nugent’s school record for yards passing in a season with a 49-yard touchdown toss to Jordon Vaden in the third quarter, his last pass of the day, which gave him 3,327 yards on the season, eight more than Nugent had in 1983.
Grayson also hooked up with Rashard Higgins for two TDs. Higgins had seven catches for 127 yards.
Behind Bibbs (16 carries for 79 yards) and Grayson (26 of 34), the first 1,500-yard rusher and 3,000-yard passer in the same season in CSU history, the Rams (7-6, 5-3 Mountain West) clinched their first regular season winning record since 2003 — and they are bowl eligible for the first time since 2008, when they beat Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl.
Air Force had won seven straight in this series but they were outclassed from the start of this one as Bibbs scored on runs of 3 and 1 yards on Colorado State’s first two series. The Rams sniffed out a fake punt by the Falcons at their own 45 and five plays later Grayson’s 23-yard pass to Higgins made it 20-0.
Grayson and Higgins hooked up again from 19 yards out, and Jared Roberts’ 54-yard field goal as the first half expired made it 30-0. It was the longest field goal for the Rams in 14 seasons.
After Grayson’s 22-yard run capped a 95-yard drive in the third quarter that made it 37-0, Falcons running back Jon Lee fumbled and safety Trent Matthews recovered at the Falcons’ 4. Bibbs took it in from there for his third TD and a 44-0 lead.
“We have to go back and look at every aspect of what we are doing,” Calhoun said. “We have to coach better. We have to play better.”