No. 25 Colorado St. 38, San Diego St. 17
SAN DIEGO (AP) _ Sonny Lubick would like December to be just like the past two months for Colorado State.
After stumbling early in the season, the No. 25 Rams couldn’t lose in October and November. They closed out that span Saturday night with a 38-17 victory over San Diego State for a berth in the Western Athletic Conference championship game.
Moses Moreno threw all three of his touchdown passes in the second quarter to the help the Rams (9-2, 7-1) record their seventh straight victory and clinch first place in the WAC’s Pacific Division.
``We were sitting 2-2 at the end of September, and two months later, we haven’t lost again,″ said Lubick, whose club matched the best winning streak by the Rams since they went 7-0 to open the 1994 season.
``They’ve all been pretty impressive victories. The team has just played with the intensity and character that you like to see.″
The Rams will seek their third conference title in four years against New Mexico of the Mountain Division in the conference championship game, Dec. 6 in Las Vegas.
``When we’re in Vegas, we hope to have some luck,″ senior defensive lineman Adrian Ross said. ``If we come out and play 60 minutes like our best in this game, you’ll really see what CSU can do.″
San Diego State (5-7, 4-4) closed the season with its second losing record in nine years. The Aztecs took a 3-0 lead in the first quarter but then allowed 38 unanswered points over the next two periods.
``I’m really proud of our defense, the way they played and held us in there,″ Lubick said. ``Once we got our first drive going, our offense started to roll pretty well. Moses had some good throws and there were some nice catches, too.″
Moreno’s three TD passes staked the Rams to a 21-3 halftime lead. Their advantage increased to 38-3 with 4:37 left in the third quarter before he left the game because of an injured right elbow. He finished with 153 yards passing, completing 11 of 18 attempts.
Frank Rice had a 41-yard TD reception and Darran Hall added a 33-yard scoring catch during the second quarter. Damon Washington led the Rams’ ground attack with 130 yards on 17 carries.
The Aztecs’ Jonas Lewis gained 167 yards on 27 rushes.
San Diego State opened the scoring with a 19-yard field goal by Nate Tandberg at 6:28 into the game. But he missed on three other attempts in the first half from 30, 50 and 34 yards.
The Rams were held without a first down until four minutes into the second quarter, but once they got untracked, they scored on three straight possessions.
Eli Workman caught a tipped 8-yard TD pass to give the Rams a 7-3 lead with 8:36 remaining before halftime.
On the ensuing possession, the Aztecs moved to the Colorado State 16, only to see Tandberg’s 34-yard field goal try bounced off the crossbar after it was inadvertently defected by San Diego State lineman Greg Spillane.
Rice scored with 3:28 to go in the half, and after a fumble recovery by Clark Haggans at the Rams 48, Hall expanded the lead to 21-3 with 1:04 left.
Colorado State nearly scored again before halftime, but on fourth down from the Aztecs 1, Moreno was stopped for no gain by Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila with 8 seconds to go.
The Aztecs sacked Moreno three times in the first quarter, yet allowed 145 yards passing in the second period.
In the third quarter, the Rams’ Kevin McDougal had a 56-yard run to set up his own 1-yard TD run and Jamie Bennett scored on a 20-yard interception return. Also, Derek Franz kicked a 31-yard field goal for Colorado State.
The Aztecs scored again with 11:36 left on a 12-yard TD pass to Damon Gourdine from Spencer Brinton.